UNFPA Humanitarian Program Spokesperson met with Syrian women

songuloden_680Songül Öden, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Humanitarian Programme Spokesperson paid a visit to the UNFPA Women and Girls Safe Space in July, which delivers primary healthcare services to Syrian women and girls in Istanbul. During her visit, Öden joined  a colourful social activity together with Syrian women.

Songül Öden, who visited the UNFPA Women and Girls Safe Space in Istanbul, said: ‘’The women I met in the centre are very strong women, who continue to hang on to life despite the hardships they have experienced. Some of the women speak Turkish very well. There are also teachers among them. As I listen to their stories, I realize how hard their experiences have been. These women endeavour, using each and every opportunity they have, to build up a better future for themselves and for their children.’’

Spokesperson Öden also stitched a piece of embroidery of personal value on the square wrapping cloth on which Syrian women stitch their expectations for the future. The Syrian women read one by one all the messages stitched on the piece of cloth and explained the meaning to Songül Öden. Öden chatted with the Syrian women who created these beautiful handcrafts and she listened to their prospects and efforts they make to overcome the challenges they face.

The stories of Syrian women as captured by the actress Songül Öden

Songül ÖdenUnited Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Humanitarian Programme Spokesperson, interviewed a Syrian woman during her visit as well. During the interview, she asked questions to capture Syrian women’s experiences overall and witness how they improve their life through the assistance of UNFPA Women and Girls Safe Space centres. These series of interviews will be published on United Nations Population Fund’s web site (http://turkey.unfpa.org/tr) and its social media accounts (UNFPA Turkey). By following these series of candid interviews with the Syrian women, you witness firsthand what they have been experiencing since the first day of the humanitarian crises.

UNFPA Women and Girls Safe Spaces

The successful actress Songül Öden, who visited the UNFPA Women and Girls Safe Space run by UNFPA’s implementing partner Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants (ASAM) and funded by European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) received information regarding the centre from the officers of Istanbul Provincial Directorate of Health, ECHO, UNFPA and ASAM.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) delivers primary healthcare services, social services and psychological support to refugee Syrian women and girls within its humanitarian programme. Besides the services provided in the Migrant Health Centres run by the Ministry of Health, UNFPA delivers these complimentary health services to Syrian women and girls at the UNFPA Women and Girls Safe Space. These primary health services are available in several provinces across Turkey within the scope of UNFPA Turkey Office’s humanitarian programme. Now 34 centres are delivering primary health services with the support of a number of implementing partners.

During Songül Öden’s visit, Dr. Alper Bilal, Expert in the Unit of Migration Health, a department of the Office of Public Health under the Istanbul Provincial Directorate of Health, spoke of the support of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to the projects of humanitarian aid executed by the Government of Turkey, also gave information about the daily operations in the centre and the primary healthcare services delivered to Syrian women and girls. 

Dr. Gökhan Yıldırımkaya, Reproductive Health Programme Coordinator in the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), spoke, on the other hand, of the services delivered by the health mediators serving in the UNFPA Women and Girls Safe Space. Dr. Yıldırımkaya noted the important role the health mediators play in the daily operation ofUNFPA Women and Girls Safe Spaces. Dr. Yıldırımkaya said that health mediators assist in health literacy by personally visiting the migrants at home to provide them door-to-door services in the areas with predominantly Syrian population. Plus, Dr. Yıldırımkaya added also that health mediators inform Syrian refugee living in the vicinity regarding the services UNFPA Women and Girls Safe Space provide.

Bruno Rotival, Representative of the European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) responsible for the Marmara Region, who was present in the Centre during the visit of Songül Öden, briefly spoke of the financial support they provide to humanitarian aid operations of UNFPA Turkey.

Kerem Renda who serve as Supervisor for the Women’s Health Counselling Centres in the Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants (ASAM) spoke about the activities of the centres intended to empower women and the positive effects of the Turkish courses in the integration of women into society.