“Opportunities for Lives” was launched on the 19th of November in Istanbul, aiming to provide greater entrepreneurship opportunities for Syrians under temporary protection and Turkish citizens in nine Turkish provinces.
The UN Migration Agency (IOM) will work closely as an implementing partner on this two-year project, led by the International Labour Organization (ILO) under the general coordination of the Turkish Directorate-General for International Labour Force.
Funded by the European Union, “Opportunities for Lives” or “Hayata Fırsat” in Turkish, includes activities to increase economic and social resilience of both groups by strengthening opportunities for labour market integration. IOM Turkey’s Chief of Mission Lado Gvilava, said at the launch, “By creating greater opportunities for business development and supporting labour market integration of Syrians, we are helping build a cohesive society that benefits both migrants and host communities. We hope that this project will help move forward and positively influence labour migration policy in Turkey.”
IOM will play a main role in delivering vocational, entrepreneurship and awareness trainings and provide business start-up grants and competitions. The nine target provinces include Ankara, Istanbul, Bursa, Konya, Gaziantep, Şanlıurfa, Adana, Mersin and Hatay. With a particular focus on youth and women, the project will partner with public agencies at the central and provincial level, municipalities, workers’ and employers’ organizations.
The Head of the EU Delegation to Turkey, Ambassador Christian Berger, added, “Refugees are development and economic actors that, through their skills and talents, can positively contribute to the Turkish economy. For this reason, the EU has supported and will continue to support Turkey in its efforts to enhance refugees’ skills such as entrepreneurship and improve the employability, labour market access and integration of both refugees and vulnerable Turkish citizens in communities with a high presence of refugees”.
The launch event provided an opportunity for practitioners at national and local levels to share experiences and lessons learned. They included representatives from business associations such as the Gaziantep Chamber of Industry, the Istanbul Chamber of Small Hotels, and a board member of the Syrian Businessman Association.
Hayata Fırsat will reach out 13,000 Syrians, 5,000 Turkish citizens, 350 public officials from relevant agencies, 500 representatives and 500 businesses from workers’ and employers’ organizations.