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Press Centre (12/2014)

Roya wants a smart phone

SURUÇ, Türkiye, December 2014 - At 15 years old, Roya has already seen her share of hardship. Paralysed after an accident at 6 months, the teenager has now had to flee fighting in her hometown of Ayn Al-Arab, known as Kobane to the Kurds. 

But sitting in the temporary camp in Suruc, Turkey, Roya smiles widely as she talks, surrounded by her mother, sister and grandmother. Her father is back in Ayn Al-Arab, having made sure his family had reached safety across the Turkish border.
“We came by car to the border and then we were transferred by bus,” Roya said, as she described their journey to Turkey.
“The Turkish Red Crescent wouldn’t let us even carry our own bags. We got support for everything. They carried us.”
Her mother explains Roya’s injury. She said, “When she was six months old, she fell on her head and there was a crack. The doctor told us we could have an operation, but there would be 50 to 60% chance she could get much worse or even die as a result. So we couldn’t take that risk.”
In half-moon shaped tents, towards the back of the official camp, run by AFAD and in coordination with UNICEF, Roya and her family share a room. Her wheelchair is folded up in one corner.
The majority of the new refugees here are currently housed in the disused school at the front, where families share classrooms to sleep in.
All 3,000 people have access to medical attention from the Turkish Red Crescent.
Turkey has seen an influx of approximately 180,000 refugees from Ayn Al-Arab and its surrounding villages in the past month alone.
The terrain around the camp makes it difficult for Roya to move around much — her wheelchair gets stuck in the sand.
Technology-mad Roya, however keeps her spirits up with music and has even found a head start with the Turkish language.
“I love music. I listen to Turkish, Kurdish and Arabic music and I can sing in Arabic. I understand Turkish songs,” she said.
Her mother says she loves playing on the computer and loves anything to do with technology.
And in her modest new surroundings, Roya is focused on just one thing for the future.
“I’d like an iphone 5 or 6”, she says.
UNICEF Turkey Country Office, Yukarı Dikmen Mah. Alexsander Dubçek Cd. 7/106, 06450 Çankaya/Ankara. Telephone: +90 312 454 1000 Fax: +90 312 496 1461 E-mail: ankara@unicef.org