More than six years after the Syrian crisis, the three million refugees in Turkey have succeeded in changing the common concept of asylum. These are no longer a heavy burden on the host country, but have made a significant contribution to the Turkish economy, both through projects that Or through their work in factories and Turkish companies.
A report on Al-Jazeera English website dealt with the success stories of the Syrians in the Turkish city of Gaziantep on the Syrian border. The first was Ms. Asma Juha, who was the principal of a school in Aleppo before the war began and turned to Turkey where she opened a kindergarten in Gaziantep.
“When I looked into the eyes of the Syrian children, I was scared. I was wondering how they felt when they grew up, and whether I did my duty as a teacher towards them or not. ”
The kindergarten offers courses for Syrian children and adults in three languages: Turkish, English and Arabic. As for why Arabic classes are offered to students, although they are their mother tongue, Asma Juha says this decision is based on a modern and personal experience.
“On my Mother’s Day, my children wrote me some nice Arabic letters, but I was shocked because they contained some grammatical errors,” she said. “I think I should start some lessons in Arabic because this is our native language and we should not abandon it.”
The one-year-old Kindergarten has been a great success and has become a role model in its local community and has become an example of how Syrian businessmen and women contribute to the local economy.
“I want to emphasize one thing that people, wherever they are, must work and produce,” Asma says.
“Every Syrian investment in Turkey creates jobs for at least nine Syrian refugees,” said Rami Sharraq, executive director of the Syrian Economic Forum, a non-profit non-profit organization that aims to help Syrian refugees.
Refugees should not be considered burdensome, but should be seen as a group that could generate substantial economic growth for themselves and their host communities.
Since 2011, the Syrians in Turkey have started more than 6,000 local companies, according to a new report entitled “The Other Side of the Story: A Market Assessment of Syrian Companies in Turkey” by a US-based non-profit organization working on emerging markets.
The report added that these companies collectively invested more than $ 300 million in Turkey, and that the benefits generated by Syrian entrepreneurs are also essential for communities affected by the influx of refugees, which suffer from long-term economic problems such as unemployment ”
In the last quarter of last year, the Syrian Economic Forum launched a project to help Syrian investors in Turkey legitimize and protect their investments. The project, dubbed “My License”, was initially launched in Gaziantep, southern Turkey, but began to expand towards other Turkish cities, including Istanbul.
However, there are many obstacles still facing Syrian refugees in Turkey to enter the labor market, including obtaining a work permit. Since 2016, only 15,000 declarations have been issued.
“The main problem here in Turkey is the language barrier,” says Mujahid Aqil, a Syrian businessman currently working in Gaziantep. “For the Syrians, the inability to speak the language affects their ability to enter the labor market in Turkey, but I think those who know the language They can enter the labor market and get a work permit easily. ”
When Mujahid arrived in Gaziantep, he found it very difficult to get a job, but after learning Turkish, things became easier for him. He thought of creating a platform for providing information in Arabic to the Syrians in Turkey.
Mujahid has launched the “Gharbatna” network to help Syrian refugees find work and has become a platform for his business ambitions. He now has several companies, including a translation services company for Syrians.
“The message I always try to convey in Turkey is that I am not just a refugee, and that being refugees is not a shame,” says Mujahid.