We believe that a range of legal issues arise through the lack of information and awareness of rights and how to exercise rights. Therefore, (1) information on rights shall be passed on by means of counselling and freely available information material and (2) the enforcement and protection of rights shall be monitored and ensured through legal assistance in the individual case. The legal support - carried out by two attorneys and 2-3 law-student volunteers - will cover the following fields of law; international protection, gender related legal issues, and social/labor rights.
Legal Counseling will be provided in an area separated from the other areas of the women’s centre in order to be accessible for all refugees regardless their gender but at the same time guarantee the centre to remain a safe space for women. If necessary, individual cases, in particular those concerning detention, will be forwarded to the Turkish BAR Association for legal assistance, which may also assign cases to the Centre's lawyers.
A Turkish and Arabic speaking psychologist will be available 2-3 days a week for conversation and counseling in a secure, private area in the center. In particularly serious cases, persons may be referred to undergo therapy in state health institutions or, if not accessible (for those who are outside their assigned region or could not register), to appropriate NGOs. By providing support in dealing with traumatic experiences and gender-specific violence, the current situation can be greatly improved while also alleviating anxieties and worries through stabilizing and strengthening effects. Particular attention is paid to cases in which women* suffer from abusive relationships or illegal (child/second wife) marriages.
The close cooperation between the lawyers, the social worker and the psychologist all being present at the center, has the huge advantage, that measures can be taken directly and without the delay and additional administration which sole dependency on referrals to other institutions would cause.
Community Place, Activities and Forum Structure
The center will be available to women* as an open, supportive and participatory space, as a place of gathering, exchange, mutual learning and joint activities and should convey a sense of belonging, security and trust. In addition to the these that will contribute more to solving concrete problems, further activities will support women* in regaining their own abilities, strength and self-confidence. In order to have enough freedom to jointly identify the real needs of women* and to jointly explore the appropriate program, only the activities mentioned will be firmly established at the beginning of the project. This should enable the necessary flexibility to promote the autonomy of the marginalized target group with a view to shaping the activities together not for but with the participants*.
In order to counter the problem of social exclusion of women*, we will create a meeting place for both locals and refugees to give them the space and resources to do multiple things together such as cooking together in the center, leading to both a linguistic and a culinary exchange to take place. We believe that creating a space for refugees and locals to come together to share food each day will be conducive to establishing a sense of community.
Language instruction in Turkish and English will bring refugees and locals closer together in a common learning space and establish a common level of communication. In addition, information workshops on everyday/other relevant topics (e.g. gender-based-violence), facilitation of life in Izmir, and personal empowerment will be offered.
In order to support women* in their current precarious economic situation, they will have the opportunity to acquire skills in the production and sales of materials, e.g. handicraft goods, through the appropriate training courses. By promoting this sense of self-organization, women* are strengthened in their (economic) independence and competence. To achieve this goal, the selection of the respective training topics is subject to criteria of actual feasibility under the given circumstances, i.e. in particular low material and manufacturing costs, affordable equipment and producibility in a small space.
A separate children's area will enable parents/mothers to enjoy all activities and services while placing their children in a reliable child care area. Activities such as handicrafts, painting, theatre play and readings should enable children and adolescents to spend their free time in an age-appropriate way. This will also promote an early acquisition of the Turkish language through a playful context. The latter is also relevant for the admission test in schools. In addition, homework supervision for older pupils* will take place on weekends.
A competent bilingual (Turkish and Arabic) social protection manager with many years of experience in Izmir, will support the women in coping with everyday tasks. This is done mainly by mediation and accompaniment to institutions and other service providers in the fields of health, education, social assistance, work and all other bureaucratic tasks, such as applying for social benefits or registering for performance tests.
Depending on whether a person has valid registration documents, difficulties can be solved by referral to institutional bodies such as the Ministry of Labour, Social Assistance and Family or the Employment Agency Işkur or, if no such documents are available, to organisations such as Yurt-taşlık derneği, Kizilay (health and humanitarian aid), Refugee Support Center (for people with disabilities) and Halklarin Körüsü Derneği (information events).
Networking and Research to Improve the Economic Situation
Until the center establishes a routine, which takes into account all relevant practical and other matters, we will concentrate on the implementation of all the other factors of the center. In addition, we will network even more intensively on site as well as expand and consolidate cooperation with other actors. In the long term, the focus will be seeking and developing alternative support options to inadequate legal protection regarding the labour situation of refugees in Turkey.