Behind The Colourful Walls Of Basmane

Behind the colourful walls and the ornate doors of the streets of Basmane in Izmir, Turkey, live many families struggling to cover their basic needs.

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We visited some of these amazing families, who, unable to legally work in Turkey, are forced to do so illegally or go hungry.

First of all we visited 28-year-old Dana and her beautiful children.

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Her husband died as a result of the war so now she has to provide for her young kids by herself. She does so by begging on the street, covering her face with a scarf to try and retain a level of dignity.

She is beautiful and young, a joker who absolutely LOVED our team member Dan (who doesn’t), who visited her regularly whilst working in Izmir earlier this year. Dan would sit in the tiny room in which they all live for hours, chatting, smoking and laughing, whilst scenes of bombs in Damascus played in the background on the muted TV.

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Dana told me that she is ashamed of having to beg for money and never thought she would see the day, but she has no other option. Landlords in Turkey put the rents very high for Syrian refugees and increase them regularly, knowing that the families have nowhere else to go.

Dana also told me that when she has been caught begging by the local police, more than once she has been inappropriately touched by multiple police men who bargain with her, saying that she must allow this for them to let her go. If she refuses, they keep her there, away from her children even longer.

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This is just one of the many stories I heard of the exploitation of vulnerable refugees in Turkey.

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