A Time for Giving: Practical help for Syrians living in Istanbul
Now that the festive season is over, the tree and the tinsel taken down and the debris of wrapping paper cleared away, we can get back to normal life. However for the estimated 2.2 million Syrians living in Turkey, normal life is a far cry from our home comforts. Many of them had to leave not only their homes and loved ones, but their schools, universities and colleges. For the parents of school age children, and young adults with unfinished degrees, the worry is as much about their future as about their homeland.
Small Projects Istanbul (SPI) is an NGO founded by Australian Karyn Thomas and co-directed with Shannon Kay, who also works on placing children in schools. Along with Communications Manager Anna Tuscon and Siba Alaradi in Community Liaison, these women and a team of volunteers provide aide to Syrians living alone or with their families in Istanbul. A major aim of SPI is to help Syrian refugees in Turkey access education in Istanbul and elsewhere. However, even when they are able to continue their studies, they lack the basic resources many of us take for granted.
This is where you come in. If there was a new laptop or tablet under the Christmas tree for you, why not consider donating the old one to a displaced Syrian and help them further their education? Whether you live in Istanbul or have friends and family coming over to visit you and to go sightseeing, please see if you or they can help Syrian refugees in Turkey by making a donation.
Some important points to remember
• Only donate laptops and tablets that are in good working condition. If you can’t use an electronic device because it’s faulty, too slow or too old, a Syrian won’t be able to make use of it either.
• Make sure you don’t leave any personal data behind on the hard drive. If you’re unsure how to clear your computer hard drive, ask at your public library or community centre for help. Alternatively ask your local computer repair person. They’ll likely help you if you tell them it’s for charity.
• It’s a good idea to clear the internet browsing history too.
• It would be great if any programs already loaded such as Excel, Word etc are left on the computer.
• In addition, please provide an adaptor so the computer can be used in Turkey. If you bought your computer in Australia you can buy such as the one pictured below for under AUD$10.
• If you’re bringing a laptop or tablet from a country other than Australia please check the voltage compatibility with Turkish requirements.
• Alternatively, if you have the time, you can take the device you plan to give to an electronics accessory shop in Istanbul (Kadıköy and Karaköy are both good centres for this) and buy a new cord (and/or transformer) for the computer.
If you’d like to help Syrians refugees in Turkey please give an electronic device to a Syrian living in Istanbul. You can get in touch with me via the contact form on my website. Even if you don’t have a laptop or tablet to donate, Small Projects Istanbul regularly have new projects on the go so financial contributions are always welcome. They can be made through their secure site here.