• Başak Yirmibeşoğlu  | Consultant (Communications)

"When I woke up one morning, I never thought my life would change so much. Everything turned upside down."  

The February 2023 earthquakes in southeast Turkiye changed Nedret's life. Living in Adana with her family in a nearly 50-year-old building, they were warned that even a slight tremor or aftershock could cause the building to collapse. Nedret and her family decided to move in with her mother, at a lower floor in the same building.  

Nedret's life during and after the earthquakes was made more challenging by her husband's condition – Alzheimer's disease.  

"I was very scared when the earthquakes struck. Sometimes you don't prioritize yourself, because my husband can't act consciously, and I have children. How can I save everyone?" she said.  

"I need to take care of his basic needs. Some people told me to take him to a centre, but how can I? He is my husband.”

Nedret and her husband show an old painting of her husband. Photo: IOM 2024/Başak Yirmibeşoğlu 

Amidst the tragedy, Nedret fondly recalls a time when she loved sewing and pursued it as a profession. She used to work at a women's cooperative.  

Through this cooperative, she learned about a cash assistance programme by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).  

"These days, I can't sew as much. I heard about IOM’s programme through this cooperative. I mostly spend the cash on food. It has been very helpful to us economically."   

After the earthquakes, IOM launched a Multipurpose Cash Assistance (MPCA) programme, tailored to cover affected households’ basic needs for a specific period.  

This assistance is designed to address various needs, such as food, shelter, and other essentials. It is implemented as unconditional aid, offering financial relief to earthquake-affected families during their recovery process.  

"I mostly spend the cash on food. It has been very helpful to us economically," Nedret remarked.  

She also used some of the cash to ensure her 15-year-old daughter could continue going to school.  

"My daughter's education is very important to me. She fell behind in her lessons a bit after the earthquake, but the most important thing for me is for her to be a good and conscientious person."  

Nedret recalls fond memories while viewing the childhood photos of her children. Photo: IOM 2024/Başak Yirmibeşoğlu 

Nedret's personal journey reflects the struggle many women go through in post-disaster settings. She continues to navigate the complexities of caring for her husband while attending to her children's needs, in a world where caregiving duties often fall heavily on women.  

"It feels like a dream, and I will wake up. But then, despite these difficulties, I see that I stand with great strength at the end of the day," she exclaimed.   

"Today, you can be fine; tomorrow, you can be upside down. But as long as you live, there is always hope. You will always strive. You will hold on to life."  

Despite the barriers faced by women around the world, Nedret exhibits remarkable resilience as she strives to secure a better future for her family. 

As of February 2024, 41,362 individuals from migrant, refugee and local community households have received multipurpose cash assistance, through the support of Government of Canada and the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM).