Since the start of the war in Syria in 2011, Istanbul has become a place of refuge and maybe even a home to tens of thousands, even millions of refugees. To me it has been a home for the past eight years.
Growing up here I have only ever known the bright and shiny sides of Istanbul, the parts that tourists like to buy postcards of. It is very easy for one to get used to seeing just one perspective, just one side of this city and pretending it’s the only one there is.
But you can’t make a problem go away by ignoring it. To be clear- the circumstances under which
refugees have to live here are posing the biggest problems – not the refugees themselves. Small Projects Istanbul in Fatih does remarkable work for all these people that have lost their homes, families, friends, and that warm feeling of security and is able to give back a small part of that.
SPI offers activities ranging from computer classes over cooking lessons to homework club and those are not just providing a sense of belonging, of routine and normality, but what’s more, children and adult participants can acquire useful skills and get ready to have a shot at a better future.