Humanitarian Volunteers in Action in Istanbul

EU AID Volunteers, promoted by the Directorate General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)  connects volunteers and organizations from different countries and provides an important support to strengthen the local capacity in NGOs working in humanitarian aid projects. 

With the support of MONDO MTU, Adra SK and Adice France, Small Projects Istanbul (SPI)  has been hosting Aya, Lucia and Martin for the past several months. 

Aya is from France and she has been supporting the Social Enterprise Muhra as Income and Generation officer from July 2019.

Martin is from Slovakia and he has been part of the Programs team, as Programs and Volunteers Coordinator for the past 7 months. 

Lucia is from Italy and has been working on strengthening the fundraising and communication of SPI since September 2019. 

Small Projects Istanbul has been working with the refugee community since 2015 and has a small team of hard workers professionals that put their hearts and experience at service of the organization and all the members of our community center. We recognize how important it is to include different points of view and expertise in our team, in order to grow stronger and improve as an organization. For this reason, we really appreciated the opportunity offered by DG ECHO to include international high skilled professionals to our team. Aya, Martin and Lucia have immediately become an important part of the team and it has been a mutual exchange of learning and teaching since the beginning. 

In the past couple of months we had to adjust to a new working situation, due to the unexpected outbreak of the new COVID 19. The activities in the community center had to be put on hold for few weeks and we started developing online activities for the children of our center and provide extra support regarding sharing information and direct contributions to many refugee families.

The work of our EU Volunteers also had to change a bit and they started working from home, as the rest of our team. Fortunately, their work was not affected much by the change and they are able to still carry on with their tasks. Martin has been working on translating the children programs into online activities and coordinating with all the local volunteers. Aya has been working on finding new business opportunities for Muhra to grow. 
Lucia has been researching for new funding opportunities, writing proposals for grants and preparing communication material.

So, they and the rest of our team have a lot on their plates and we are still going strong to support our refugee community during these hard times.

We look forward to stepping out of this uncertain time and go back to our community center. We miss the sound of the sewing machines, the laughter of the children, the chats among colleagues during the working breaks, dancing with our small beneficiaries during the activities, but we are hopeful it will all come back soon, and having the support of our EU AID Volunteers during these stressful times have been extra important for us. 

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