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Press Centre (8/2016)

Outreach Teams Bring Hope To The Most Vulnerable

The Child Protection Support Centre in Izmir provides much-needed help for the most vulnerable families. Photo credit: © ASAM
IZMIR, 27 July 2016 – Baraha is a 17 year old Syrian refugee from Damascus. He is one of 3 siblings, all of whom were born with severe mental and physical disabilities. They, and countless other refugee children like them, have long lived invisibly in Turkey, while their parents have been unable to find the help they so much need. 

But thanks to the generous support of the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), this is changing. At the UNICEF Child Protection Support Centre (CPSC) in Izmir, run by the Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants (ASAM), outreach teams visit Syrian and other refugee families in the city’s most underserved neighbourhoods. 
Supported by funds from ECHO, the teams look out for families and children who are in need of the psychosocial, medical, and legal services provided through the CPSC – raising awareness in communities about the services and the assistance they can receive through the CPSC. Over 330 families – including 937 children – were identified for special humanitarian assistance during missions conducted across 9 districts of İzmir. 
“The outreach missions allow us to bring services directly to the people in need, instead of waiting for them to come to us,” explains Gokce, a member of the outreach team. The house visits provide an opportunity to identify the most vulnerable families within the communities. “This helps us to improve our programmes to make sure we are providing these people with the services they actually need.”
It was on one of these missions during which they identified Baraha, who was unable to move independently and did not have a wheelchair. His mother, Heife, was initially reluctant to accept support. “When we first met her, she was clearly going through heavy depression and acted very distantly,” remembers Muge, a member of the outreach team. “However, following several visits to her house, providing information on the assistance she and her children could receive in the CPSC, she eventually agreed to visit the centre.” 
After a careful consultation by CPSC medical staff and a referral to a local hospital, the children began receiving the assistance they needed – including the provision of a new wheelchair to address the special needs of Baraha. His mother now regularly visits the centre and holds consultations with the CPSC psychologist. Additionally, the CPSC nurse and the outreach team continue to follow up on Baraha’s and his siblings’ health condition. 

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