RAF & IHH Children’s Living Center
The RAF & IHH Children’s Living Center constructed on a plot totaling almost 100 decares in Hatay/Reyhanlı is the new home of the orphaned war victims who lost their parents. On completion, the complex will be the world’s largest children’s living center for the children orphaned in the war that has caused major destruction.
- Background of the Project
IHH, that has materialized projects especially for orphaned children since it was established, laid the foundation of this huge project in the Reyhanlı province of Hatay in collaboration with the Qatari organization RAF on July 2015, which coincides with the 15 Ramadan Orphan Day. In accordance with the agreement signed with the Republic of Turkey Ministry of Family and Social Policies, the first step was taken in establishing the RAF & IHH Children’s Living Center.
- Why was there a need for such a project?
Undoubtedly, children are the most affected by the war in Syria that has continued since 2011. According to reports, one in every three Syrian children, in other words almost 3.7 million children were born after the conflict began. Currently, 8.4 million (more than 80% of the all the Syrian children) both in Syria and those who live as refugees in neighboring countries, are continuing to be affected by the war. Furthermore, these children are in need of support in many aspects ranging from education to healthcare, shelter to food, psychological support to security.
It is estimated that more than 600 thousand children were orphaned in the last five years in Syria, where 450 thousand people have lost their lives due to the war. Syrian orphans, like orphans all over the world, face the threat of drug abuse, forced recruitment, human trafficking, missionary organizations, and also organ, prostitution and begging mafias. The short lives of these traumatized children that came into the world in the center of this conflict or distant from their homelands, has been shaped by violence, fear, the fear of loss and forced migration. If the war does not end, this will continue.
- What is the aim of this children’s center?
The aim of the center is that the Syrian children, who are victims of war;
- Grow up healthy both physically and psychologically and are equipped for the future.
- Are provided with their needs such as shelter, education, healthcare, food and clothing in a home environment.
- Are rehabilitated for the psychological issues due to the trauma they suffered from the war.
- Are protected from missionary activities, crime and mafia organizations, and live in a safe environment.
- Adapt to normal life, and also develop in the social aspect; in their skills and self-confidence.
- Grow up on the basis of Syrian-Turkish brotherhood and convey kindness and friendship to future generations.
- What does the living center contain?
In addition to 55 homes, each of which are 350m2 accommodating 990 orphans in total, the complex comprises of three schools, a mosque, healthcare center, play areas, culture center, indoor sports hall, rehabilitation center, polyclinic, art workshops, plantation areas, recreation area and olive orchards.
A new home for 990 orphans
The main purpose of the living center is to protect and care for the orphans who are victims of war.
The living center was designed in the form of a small neighborhood. This new living space will help children, who have escaped the environment of war and experienced major traumas, return to normal life. In the complex, children will have the chance not only to live a healthy, peaceful life, but also live in an environment where they acquire self-confidence; where their emotions of kindness and compassion will develop by caring for animals and trees; where they learn to control their emotions and dream of a better future.
Homes in the living center were designed to meet the shelter, food, education, sharing, healthcare, clothing needs of the orphans in a family environment. The architectural design of the homes not only allows the children to care for themselves, but also teaches them to show consideration for private living spaces. Each of the homes, including the colors of the walls in the sleeping, dining, study areas was prepared with great care.
Conflict, bombs, the sound of gunfire and loss of family members inflicts deep emotional and psychological wounds on children. The special therapy center established for children that have experienced major traumas is one of the most important places in this living center. This aims to provide the children with psychological support, emotional security, self-confidence, the courage to ask advice and sharing their emotions.
The education system in the center was prepared for the children to gain social skills and a career so they can live without being dependent on others throughout their lives. At the same time, this education system will also contribute to their character education. These children, that receive a regular education, also have the chance to practice what they learn in the social areas, sport hall, mosque, plantation areas, in the home, the barber and market within the living center complex.
Health is undoubtedly one of the main basic needs of children. The living center was constructed so the children grow up in a natural, healthy environment. In the plantation areas, these children can cultivate their own fruits and vegetables that will provide them with their daily needs; their efforts of cultivating the soil will be rewarding for their physical and mental health. With the center’s health clinic and balanced diet of the meal system, the children will be physically healthier.
Sport is one of the most important activities that contribute to physical and mental health. In addition to the living center’s general social environment, the sport hall, football, volleyball and basketball grounds enable the children to use their energy in the proper way. Playing these games not only allows them to discover their own skills, but also contributes to their psychological health. Children that are talented in these sports can develop their skills even further.
Monitoring and reporting the behavior of these children in a home environment, and their behavior process in school, social spaces and in the therapy center was another objective of establishing the living center. Evaluating the development process of these children reveals the problems they face during the adaptation process to a normal life and enables experts to find solutions to these problems.
This center is not simply an accommodation place for these children. This is a huge living space where almost 500 personnel are employed ranging from carers to teachers, doctors to shopkeepers, gardeners to administrators, security experts and psychologist. While living in these homes, the children are supervised by expert carers every moment of the day; they can receive education and advice from their teachers, instruction on growing fruit, vegetables and plantation from the gardeners; consult the psychologist and train with the sport trainers any time they wish.
In addition to being an exceptional project that works to rebuild humanity, the living center also aims to protect the children of the community. The priority of the center is ensuring that these unprotected, orphaned children that are exposed to all kinds of threats can rebuild their lives, grow up to have respect for themselves and for others, and with human love and affection. In the future, these children that grow up in the living center with community awareness and where the sense of brotherhood becomes an essential part of their lives will be able to achieve accomplishments that will be beneficial to humanity.