You are on page 1of 23

IMPACTS OF VOLUNTEER YOUTH COMMUNITY IN

FOSTERING CAPACITY-BUILDING ACTIVITIES


FOR UNDERPRIVILEGED GROUP IN ISTANBUL

FIELD RESEARCH REPORT


imece / 2017

Nadya Noor Azalia Negin Darvishahmadi Faisal Kayali Kousai Tashani Utku Gven

Contents

1. Background

2. Objectives & Methodology

3. Questionnaire

4. One-on-One Interview

5. Conclusions
1. Background

Istanbul&i community was established in March 2016. It is a volunteer youth


community dedicated to social impact for disadvantaged and displaced communities.
Istanbul&i envisions a world where volunteering is an accessible opportunity for all global
youth. Started by simple communications on social media, this community has shown a
significant growth of membership and partnership in a year despite the lack of budget or
fund resources.

This community empowers young people to engage in civil society projects, to foster
integration, enhance leadership skills, and build sustainable projects. Currently, istanbul&i
has 260 members from 60 nationalities, secures partnership with more than 15 refugee
centers, associations and NGOs in Istanbul and conducts more than 15 different programs
on the initiative of the volunteers, including the Social Impact Summit in 2016 and Urban
Thinkers Summit in 2017.

Some of the characteristics of this community are non-political, non-profit,


horizontal leadership and not an activist organization. Five core values are implemented in
their programs: diversity, respect, communication, accountability, engagement
and empowerment. Each member can propose or lead a project or an initiative which
aligned to the vision, mission and values of the community. The programs are not solely
focusing on refugees even if a prominent number of projects are related to that issue.

Istanbul&i offers great help for local refugee centers in Istanbul. UNHCR estimated
that there are around 2.764.500 Syrian refugees and 350.000 non-Syrian refugees in Turkey
by the beginning of 2017. That number includes the refugees from Afghanistan, Iran,
Pakistan and East Africa.

The hardships and difficulties faced by refugees along their journey to Istanbul are a
deeply traumatizing experience for children. Refugees who are able to settle down in the
city are not guaranteed an easier life afterwards. They are often forced to give up on
education, to be isolated and marginalized from the society. Thus, an alternative approach
is necessary for those kids.

For the purpose of volunteering, Istanbul&i had partnered with ASAM (Taksim),
Yusra Community Center (Kadky), Small Projects Istanbul (apa), Tarlaba
Neighbourhood Community (Tarlaba), Knushio, Unaccompanied Minors Dormitory
(Kadky) and Syrian Scouts Group (apa).

The social initiatives for child refugees that had been conducted or are currently
being done by the members of istanbul&i include:

iftar program design-building english turkish arabic


digital literacy course tech for kids picnic & outdoor activities
design & photography activities musical therapy
Other projects are also intiated in order to reach broader communities, to share the
spirit of youth volunteerism and to bridge the gap between people from different
background, such as:

elderly home visit turkish community outreach storytelling night


ay talks comedy night refugee voices project food talk
film screening social impact summit urban thinkers summit

2. Objectives & Methodology

In this research, we aim to analyze and observe the relation between the
volunteering activities of youth community and its influence in supporting capacity-building
opportunities for at-risk young refugees in Istanbul. This research is based on the programs
led by Istanbul&i, a global volunteer youth community which focuses on social impact and
youth volunteerism.

Objectives
The overall aim of this field research is to identify the outcome of youth communitys
activities for at-risk young refugees in skill and capacity building by observing and
examining the following points:

1. The structure and management of istanbul&i and its volunteering programs


2. The curriculum, progress and feedback of the volunteering programs according
to different stakeholders
3. To conclude strength points and inconveniences regarding the past and current
programs

All of the visible outcomes and shortcomings of the volunteering programs can be
used as a starting point for other researchers and organizations in providing effective and
relative programs to solve the integration problems among young refugees in the future.
The research also aims to identify the needs of young refugees to develop their potentials,
especially in education and capacity-building, and how youth community can support them
for the sake of their future.

Methodology
The study used both qualitative and quantitative research method. Both approaches
will provide informations and details regarding the volunteering activities and the responses
of the two methods are considered equal in value. However, taking into account the
sensitive nature in the context of humanitarian crisis faced previously by the refugees,
there will be an emphasize on the qualitative approach in addressing our questions. This
approach is considered effective and ethical for our research.

This research is performed in two consecutive phases:

1. Questionnaire (March 2017)

In this phase, researcher team prepared and distributed questionnaires to the


volunteers of istanbul&i community who have participated in volunteering activities in
ASAM, Yusra Community Center, Syrian Scout, Small Projects Istanbul, Unaccompanied
Afghan/Pakistani Minors Dormitory and Tarlaba Neighbourhood Community. This
research method could produce both qualitative and quantitative responses which
researcher team consider equal in value. Questions asked are elaborate and impartial, cover
issues regarding the process of each volunteering activity, reception of the kids, notes from
the volunteers and details which will lead to the aims of this study.

2. One-on-One Interview (February-March 2017)

This phase consisted of one-on-one interviews conducted by researcher team with


various key stakeholders in the projects : young refugees, Syrian scouts, parents, volunteers
and coordinators of refugee centers or communities in Istanbul. The method provides deep
insight, experience and personal opinion of each role player during the volunteering
activities. Informations acquired from this approach reflect the strength and weakness
points that need to be considered in the future program.

Limitation on the Field

This study only covered a selected number of partner organizations and refugee
community centers in Istanbul where istanbul&is members have volunteered. Different
subjects were given at different locations according to the demand, education and age of
the children. Organizations and refugee community centers in Istanbul are not limited to
those aforementioned in this study.

Considering the locations of volunteer activities done by istanbul&i, there is a


possibility that the questionnaire and interviews were focused on some prominent
nationalities found at the centers. This does not signify that this research is only focusing on
some selected groups neither that the study is representative of the whole refugee
population in the world.

Some of the refugee centers did not allow researchers to interview or to distribute
questionnaire directly to the child refugee. Thus, limitation of information from one key
stakeholder was inevitable. Taking into account the fact that the research was conducted
with limited resources and location, this report plays a role of communication and
information between the reality of volunteering activities on the field and the reader with
different interests and purposes.
3. Questionnaire

The following is the questionnaire distributed to the volunteers of Istanbul&i


regarding the prior volunteering activities of the group. The questions used both qualitative
and quantitative approaches in order to better understand the problems encountered on
the field. Despite the different outcome and methode used to gain informations needed for
this study, both approaches are considered equal in value.
Age Range

Professions

Volunteer Programs
Subjects

Overall Feedback
Observation : Targeted Students in Class

Yusra : the kids are so active , but t want more attention from their parents , ( ASAM) the kids also
active and there is a good attention from parents .
the advantages that they are coming for learn not for fun and they are very nice to the teachers. i didn't
recognized any inconvenience at all
each week there is new students so is quite hard to manage the classroom with new members each
course and the advantage was the students are really strict during the courses
Well their age is small and not same so we can't really focusn on something mutual. But they are
children who motivate you so you love working with them.
they are young children so that everybody can teach something beyond the subject like love :) but
their concentrations are low
I don't know - I haven't participated in such activities
The students started to reacted very fast since the volunteers are youth and we used new ways of
education But always the space in the class was small and not enough for the big number of the
students
They can attend volontary programs easily, I see no inconveniences :)
None
The age difference makes it hard for some students and teachers.
They re smart but uncontrolled
Answered with Nadya
Advantages: children are very responsive Disadvantages: Children are changing every time ,age
defrences.
They aren't regular students often. In Yusra their bad behavior also interrupts the learning process.
Students come in and out of the room frequently.
Every time there were 2-3 new students and you have to adjust according to them which sometimes
bore old students and make the progress slower. Otherwise students were smart and of them willing to
learn.
There are many kids in the class. So the number of the volunteers are not enough for it.
Sometimes too many volunteers and sometimes children are hard to manage. Some children are at
different levels and also some children need extra attention
One major inconvenience that i've observed is the lack of organization in the planning for the classes.
Good
I don't understand the question.
Observation : Curriculum

the both have the same teaching system , and we have to be flexible in teaching methods .
actually i didn't like that way for teaching like giving the students papers because they will lose it after
time, what i'm suggesting that we can make a book with the whole papers and make it in one book
and it will not cost more than 5 TL for one student
nothing
It goes slow. Its beatuiful.
i think that was nice but we need to think about it more to be more fruitful in my opinion
I don't know
there was no official curriculum and we couldn't afford bringing official book to teach from
Because of Istanbul and I community, I added a lot of experiences and comptences in my curriculum.
So no inconveniences too.
It needs to be more organized
For health hygiene it was good maybe needed some more organizing like makeing it step by step .
Simple, we need teacher how can make good and appropriate curriculum for those childern
Answered with Nadya
We are not experts in teaching arabic so we are trying to get the best curriculum for them that suits
their ages ,we need some materials for young ages like colouring books
It isn't planned well, we don't always stick to it, we don't always have a strict plan.
Initially we had problems with English as we did not have a set curriculum making it difficult for new
volunteers to participate as we don't know what to do. But later on it was solved with the tech course
which had a complete curriculum in black and white.
The advantage is that we have started with the kids from the alphabet. So we can teach them the
basics well.
Arabic courses need to follow a lesson plan more closely, including repetition so kids can develop their
skills better.
The curriculum needs to be prepared in a way that meets all of the children's needs to avoid any
surprises later on.
Good
of what? There's no curriculum in Qnushyo.
Observation : Participation of Volunteers

all of them active and they try to give the best .


we have more than 200 volunteers and who are coming always less than 20 and that's really bad
volunteers are really helpfuls all the time when we need them , the only inconveniences when they
don't arrive on time
They're all great. But Haya and Toma are greater!
i think it will be better if the more volunteers participate
Sometimes some volunteers don't know what to do or don't do anything -- it's not that bad because
they still can be observers but it would have been better if we can create a more organized system per
each volunteering program
most of the volunteers were committed to participate during the long project and they show a high
level of committment
I like the points system, it create a framework
Some volunteers are not concerned about the project's target as much as spending their time. On the
other hand, the working spirit between the volunteers is quite great.
Mostly i think there must be some preparations between the volunteers before going to the center so
that every one knows what they're going to do.
They are perfect but we need to continues team of the seem people until the completion the cours
Answered with Nadya
all volunteers try to give their best and very happy about participating but they are changing every time
Sometimes too few sometimes too many people.
The problems with volunteers is either too many or very few volunteers for a particular activity.
Not enough for the number of the kids.
Sometimes too many volunteers or not the same people going so children can't create a relationship
with the children.
The participation and commitment of the volunteers is incredible.
Good
I really don't understand this question.
Observation : Facilities and Materials

(ysra) : the class is too small and narrow , and because of that the the room air is really bad and its
unhealthy room in my opinion.
it's not very good and we should make a small books like a notebook
lack of papers all the time
Everythings perfect!
frankly speaking facilities before were really bad but i didnt see the new facilities so i have no idea
about that now
-
there was not that good facilities and materials but we solved it by using simple ways to explain or by
drawing
I discover some capacities which facilitate me more in my studies.
As far as I'm concerned, I can say that with a little amount of financial support we can achieve higher
goals and avoid a lot of obsticles through buying materials and instruments that can reinforce the
educational and interactive process during lessons.
Fairly good.
It's good and enough for starting and can be developing with time
Answered with Nadya
Materials are not enough Facilities are a bit small
Yusra is really small.
There is no apparent problem with the materials or facilities.
The inconvenience thing is there is no place to play with the kids in YUSRA.
With too many volunteers and kids in a classroom it gets very crowded
The facilities of the programs i attended were fairly equipped and convenient for the students.
Good
I really don't understand this question. What is it referring to?
Suggestion

Division the mission . to earn more time and do it in the best way if there is a new things , you have to
tell the volunteering all the details
Children love to have fun with the studying, so what i'm suggesting that we should make a special way
for teaching children like bring pictures to them and ask them what's that and write it filan filan. Also i'm
really not satisfied with teaching English one hour in a week because they need to practice the
language at least 5 hours in a week. we can do that in two days, one day 3 hours and the second is 2
hours and also we should try to make in the class a small time for talking like make the students talk to
each other in English and that will help them to be better in Speaking not only grammar and
vocabulary
i think the most important thing is connecting them with everything that we can do and make them
happy so at first the participation is needed
We can make it more organized for established volunteering program -- for example do a research first
on what the targets (children or ederly or anyone else) really need, create a program and curriculums
based on that and then have a training for the volunteers (fir the skills, dos and donts)
i think we should make teams, and every team should be focusing on special sector or project like
what we did for the scouts project
Continue like that you are the best team ever And with these members and this organization we
will go further Assia from France, who is impatient to see u again :)
Having interactive games and organizing outgoing picnics for educational purposes can really break a
lot of barriers happening during regular classes.
If we can make curriculums for different subjects ,ages and have multiple volunteers trained to be able
to teach it . this would make the process more sustainable and easier to start with new groups or
organizations.
The voluntary program absolutely amazing
Answered with Nadya
More regular committed skilled volunteers.
Details about the activity should be mentioned in every event to guide volunteers about their duties.
Approximate number of volunteers needed should be mentioned in event to avoid overcrowding or
otherwise.
Less volunteers and having a proper lesson plan and curriculum and to stick closely to that so we can
have some Sort of level to assess Children's progress
I suggest a well-planned and organized approach to the voluntary programs for a more productive
outcome.
4. One-on-One Interview

Young refugees had faced hardship and war at an early age. They are affected
psychologically and physically by the drastic changes. They often had to witness family loss,
move from one country to another and see their childhood taken right in front of their eyes.
Seeing this happening around at the time, volunteers from every corner of the world also try
their best to offer help and solution for the emerging social and integration problems.

By organizing education and leisure activities for child refugees, volunteers hope to
facilitate the integration process of young refugees living in Istanbul, to help relieve the
prior trauma because of difficult situation in their country, to provide basic skills on different
subjects and, the most essential thing, to be a good friend and a good listener for them.

Researcher team interviewed some active volunteers from different background,


education and nationality. The volunteers openly shared their experience during the
duration of volunteering, what they think need to be fixed, how the children reacted to the
activities, how their programs changed their life and the life of the children even after the
program was ended.

Volunteers from Istanbul&i

I really liked the idea that we help these kids and we teach them a
lot of useful stuff that they missed during the war in Syria,
unfortunately.
Adel Rawas, 25, Volunteer

What do you think about the When I joined it, I thought that I could see
volunteering programs that you have my countrys future through it : where
done with istanbul&i? there is amazing young kids who are our
During the iftar program I think that it was hope for the future of Syria.Teaching
an amazing time because you can share them english was amazing because
your food with the others and deliver through them I can participate for my
compassionate messages to each other. I coutnrys future. I believe that they also
also participated in Syrian scout activity need more support for their activities.
which was a great place.

I had an amazing time because I feel that I do my role to help this


world to be better. Also, as a Syrian I was given a chance to do my
duty for my people as I was forced to leave my country.
Ahmed Garibeh, 26, Volunteer
What were the nationalities of the kids special conditions related to the kids age
you gave voluntary courses to ? or the place status. The curriculum, we
They are all Syrians. One Egyptian and 2 choose one from the internet for the
Iraqi kids in the past. Arabic course but after that we found a
different age group.
How long do the courses take place?
Started in February and finishing at the We try to teach them as simple as
end of April. possible, because we know that we are
not teachers and we are not in a school.
What is your feedback regarding the We are young people who want to help
program, positive and negative points? the kids benefit from their time rather
I would prefer if there were like money than playing outside or anything else. So,
resources, because without tools and we concentrate on giving them simple
materials everything gets harder. Kids are information that they can understand and
good in general but sometimes they are a memorize.
little bit impolite because some of them
comes from really different cultures. In Do you have any opinion about the
general they are sweet and nice. volunteers of the program ?
Maybe it is related with the number of
Our work, I would say that in general we kids, when they are like small group and
need a bit of organizing because we are a lot, some of the volunteers find
sometimes we finish earlier or late and themselves doing nothing maybe. But in
sometimes we come with a plan but then general I try to engage everyone in the
we change everything because of some class.

I love the team and everyone who comes. They help and show
good spirit.
Haya Al Kheder, 24, Volunteer

About the unaccompanied minors in However if they see young people like us
Kadky: investing in them, supporting them, it will
This is perhaps our most challenging have lasting impact.
demographic to work with. Most of the
dormitory houses teenage boys in order Turkish speakers are recommended.
of size: Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, Pakistan Farsi/Pashto speakers are really needed
and East Africa. Many of the boys do not for this dormitory. We need at least 1
go to school, some are abusing drugs, Arabic speaker for the new boys who
bullying is common and there is at least came from Syria recently and do not
one LGBTQI teenager. speak any English or Turkish. French,
Urdu speakers are also welcome.

Teymour Ashkan, Coordinator of Istanbul&i


How was your experience on scout kids are very kind and liked our
volunteering programs with children? team.
I participated in tech for kids project in
collaboration with Yusra Community They started to show some interest in our
Center. I liked the project and the kids classes and day after day they became
were amazing. more serious and committed about the
class. I really liked this experience
They started to react with the volunteers especially that the scout kids are not that
very fast and their curiosity started to old, some of them are 5 or 6 and they
raise on the surface session after session. showed real ethics of the scouts.
They started to ask about us and when
our next session will be and how they are What is the age range of the scout kids?
waiting for us to come again. From 8 to 18 years old as far as I know.

I really liked the project and I would like to When did the program begun and for
go there every now and then to see the how long?
kids and to be next to them. I think our first meeting with them was on
December the 25th. But our project
There is also English for the Syrian scouts started on January the 1st. It will end on
project, I have been there for 7 weeks. The April. (The scout) was 10 weeks project.

I really liked the project and I would like to go there every now and
then to see the kids and to be next to them.
Imad Adin Alassiry, 25, Volunteer

Where did you volunteer before? On Did you prepare any curriculum before
which program? giving out courses?
I volunteered at SPI for Turkish courses. Yes. We are using a book called Turkish
for Foreigners by Istanbul University. The
What did you observe during the teachers give homework many times for
program? students to improve themselves. I think
The students are not on the same level so that young students learn quickly but
you dont know which student should be older students learn slowly. Maybe we can
your standard. I am giving A1 classes, improve self-learning materials in the
many student knows turkish speaking future.
basically. We are focusing on grammar
and some small reading texts. But 2 Was there any difficulties regarding the
students dont speak turkish and we dont cultural difference?
have elementary class so it is really I think I dont have any problem about it
difficult for them. because I try to learn Syrian culture and
their habits.

Bra Boazlyan, 23, Volunteer


About the volunteers: as sometimes they have some concerns
The volunteers usually are really excited about the type of material taught in the
especially in the beginning of the class room and the true intentions of the
program. They are mostly not volunteers. These fears usually faded off
experienced but after couple of projects when good communication was
they get to the hang of it. Most of them implemented from the start and when
are trying hard to make change but there is some volunteers who speak their
sometimes language barriers come in the language and share the same culture with
way. them.

About the kids: About the centers teachers:


It is really different depending on the I didnt encounter lots of them but I met
community that the center or the event is some people who werent nice with the
held in, we have a wide range of highly kids or their parents and were using their
educated kids with well-off families who position of power to control who gets into
attend the events just to expand their the class from the class and sometimes
knowledge, and we have on the other the language used with the kids were
hand kids who are suffering from lack of inappropriate and not acceptable. Most of
attention or any kinds of nurture at home. those people were paid workers not
Most of them are really excited when they volunteering.
see volunteers want to spend time with
them, guide them and try to help them to About the curriculum of the program:
learn new things. Most of the programs I worked with were
poorly structured with general goals that
About the parents: most of the kids didnt achieve in the end.
We can see a wide spectrum here as well, Having some assistance from professional
but mostly they are interested in their in this field can be really helpful to
kids education with a bit of overcome the obstacles of building a new
overprotection over them especially when curriculum from scratch especially when
it gets to the point that foreigners the person in charged is a volunteer with
teaching their kids in a different language no background about the matter.

Most people want to do good deeds in their lives but they cant find
the way to do that. With supportive communities like I&I that is
achieved in a lovely way. The importance of volunteering should be
campaigned for and encouraged in every community.
Bisher Alhasan, 24, Volunteer
How was your volunteering experinece? The Centers teachers are welcome and
I have been volunteering in Yusra often willing to help us!
Community Center. The children are The Center is quite small so it sometimes
mostly small ranging from 3 10 years hard to continue a lesson because of the
old, mostly Arabic speakers. amount of the kids we have.

I attend the Arabic class despite the fact Its been more than 2 months since we
that I dont know Arabic. So what I do is I started this program. During this time, the
try to learn with the kids, we help each volunteers and children have become so
other. close to each other which makes the
classes go easier.
Since their age is very small they are very
naughty, wont sit still and sometimes Sometimes its hard to determine the
wont listen to our words. We always try curriculum because we dont know what
to make the class very interactive, fun and age and how many children are coming.
playful so that kids wont get bored. Thats the only hardship, I guess.

Anujin Bayasgalan, 20, Volunteer

How many volunteering programs did children in my opinion. We taught them


you attend? about the cleanliness.
I have attended 4 volunteering programs.
First, in Knushio, it was a program to It was more difficult to teach at Yusra
teach the kids how to use technology in center because the childre were very
english (laptop). But the childrens ages young like 4-8 years old so their
were various, they were between 5-14 concentration were not very good in
years old so some of them knew english learning arabic.
alphabet and some didnt know.
Another program that I have attended
I also attended volunteering programs to was the visit to elderly home. They are
give tech education and arabic lessons in lovely people who are respectable. We
ASAM and yusra center. In ASAM, the sang a song, talked with them, listened to
kids were between 6-13 years old. their stories and celebrated someones
birthday. We also cleaned the elderly
The situation during the tech program homes backyard. It was a nice time for
was similar to the one in Knushio. The me.
arabic teaching program was good for

Sunsu Park, 23, Volunteer


What is your opinion about istanbul&is Tech project was very productive and
activities at ASAM an Yusra Center? organized as we had a complete schedule.
They were good and organized. Yusra The only problem was that we had a few
center had a very small space but still it volunteers at that time so one person had
was productive. The program at ASAM to take 2 or more kids which make it
was also really good. difficult and less productive.

I also attended the iftar program, it was I would suggest, if we can estimate how
good but a little bit unorganized because many volunteers that will be needed in an
there were so many people who were activity and mention that beforehand it
atteding the program but didnt know would be better. That can also solve the
exactly what to do. problem of overcrowding or otherwise.

Hadia Anjum, 25, Volunteer


How was the general outcome of your new faces each time so we had to start
previous volunteering activities? with them from the beginning.
It was good being part of the voluntary
programs. The children were really calm The volunteers were amazing. They knew
and helpful but their levels, ages and how to handle the situations we were
background werent similar so it was hard facing and they have good style in
for us to explain the lessons for all of them teaching and explaining the lessons.
at once. Plus, some of them were not However, it would be better if we followed
committed to the program and we had a specific strategy in organizing the
workshops.
Noor Agha, 24, Volunteer

Please tell me about your volunteering talk about it all the time. That really
experience with the Syrian Scouts. shows how much they love their country. I
Working with those kids its really brilliant. noticed also that they are well-integrated
I had an incredible experience! They are so in the Turkish society! They are mostly 7-9
talented. All of them are so cute. There years old and their Turkish is really good.
were a lot of different situations. Every
week theres always a new scouts coming. How about the volunteers?
Once there was a new scout came, he was What can I say about the volunteers? As
new even in Istanbul and his psychological always they did a great job. Faisal is the
situation was not so good but the other leader on this project and hes really
kids were so kind and welcomed him in a committed in it. Sobhi also makes a great
great way. atmosphere with the music activities. This
is my first experience teaching kids and
What impressed me was their feelings its a great one. Im thankful for istanbul&i
about their country (Syria), they want to for trusting me in doing this job.

Antigona B. Imeri, Volunteer


Details of my activities with minor -Providing psychological help if they are
refugees from afganistan and Iran: traumatised
-Explaining about UNHCR and the Turkish -Explaining about Turkish people and how
authorities they could try to live in Turkey easier even
-Telling them about their rights and though they will be here temporarily.
opportunities as a refugee in Turkey
-Teaching them Turkish in order to be About Refugee Rights Center:
able to continue their studies in Turkish -The center has Turkish and English
schools classes every week
-Telling them about their rights and -The center takes children for swimming
opportunities as a refugee in Turkey and other sports activities
-Teaching them turkish in order to be able -The center does their application in
to continue their studies in Turkish immigration office, UNHCR, schools as
schools they are under 18 and the responsibility is
-Asking about their needs and wishes with the dorm as they dont parents (died
about education, hobbies, clothes, due to war) or back in their country.
psychological state and according to
these needs, try to find classes, activities, What is my feedback about the voluntary
different organizations and assistance. programs:
Like swimming classes, music, language, -Some of the children were shy to share
etc. some stuff to me, as I am a girl and they
-Trying to ask about their stories and what are teenagers (boys)
they have been through in their original -After a while some of them were looking
country, on their way to Turkey (as they at us as a hope and solution for some of
all have came to Turkey illegally) , their their needs
life in Turkey and what they want to do in -Some of them felt more hopeful about
future thier future as we helped them with our
activities

I got to know better how to behave and ask questions from children
who were traumatized.
Negin Darvishahmadi, 22, Volunteer
Syrian Scouts

About Syrian Scouts :


Our scout group members age range Sincerely they succeeded at this so much
between 7 to 17 years old. We have and they deserve to take a chance to play
approximately 40 persons. I handle all the and to improve their musical talent.
activities in our scouts.
Unfortunately we have no place to train or
About volunteering activities for Syrian to play music and we need it so much. So
Scouts: any activity related to music would be
When we met their (scout members) great.
families they asked for Turkish classes and
I told Istanbul&i that. I also recommend Also we would love to help in social
programming and computer skills classes activities like visiting old people or
but they couldnt offer it yet. children who have cancer of something
like that because I did it when I was a
About the future activities that they scout boy at Syria and I know how much
would like to do: important it is.
Well, I really think that we need to do
more activities related to their (scouts)
musical band.

Majd Elewi, Scout Leader


Can you tell me about Syrian Scouts in And before we used to play music
general? together but our musical band is still small
Okay first, we may be named Syrian and sadly because we have so little
scouts but actually we are from more than number of instruments. But other than
just one nation. There are people from that we had a lot of fun with them.
Palestine and Iraq, and the point i that
even though we come from different
backgrounds we are all foreigners in this Regarding the materials during the
country. So the idea of the Scout is to program, is there anything to be
bring us all together to form this big improved for the future activities?
happy family. I wish that some of the really good scouts
picked by the leader could get involved in
Most of us are students but there are some kind of charity or awareness type of
some older people who arent (students). movements with Istanbul&i.
We range in age from 8 years old up to 21
years old but most of us are 15 or 16 years Maybe we could get to know them more
old. and encourage and increase our social
skills, feeling of compassion and
What do you think about the responsibilities to the society where we
volunteering activities with istanbul&i? live in. Because maybe we can break the
At first it was a bit messy I think because ice between us and the Turkish people
they were excited to give us everything who we would love to know more about
theyve got but soon later it became a lot and get mixed with.
more organized and stable. We are
learning English in different tiers. We are Another idea maybe we can get to know
learning to sing some of our traditional some Turkish boys and girls of our age
songs which we love. because we really lack of that in our life
here.

(Istanbul&i has) great people with big hearts


Ward Alafif, 15, Scout
5. Conclusions

Key points in the volunteering activities


1. The heterogeneity of the community
2. The need to have a flexible project to meet the fast changes on the group
3. The need to create a project that can be understood and absorbed by children and
young adults suffering from trauma
4. The need to work with limited resources
5. How to utilize the talents of the local communities

Astonishing facts found in the field


1. Resilience of the community
2. Plethora of talents and ideas
3. Strength of communal activities

Shortcomings of the volunteering program

1. Lack of materials & space for the activities


2. Need of professional consultant or experts help in the field
3. Need of a cross-cultural integration accelerator program