Skip to content

Accessing Disability Support in Türkiye: Ahmed’s Story


August 25, 2022 • 3 min read

Ahmed, his wife, Zozan, and their four children live in Adana, Türkiye's fifth largest city. When the war in Syria broke out, Ahmed and Zozan were forced to flee, leaving everything behind.

Ahmed and his wife Zozan fled the war in Syria and found safety in Türkiye 10 years ago. They got married in their hometown Aleppo, but their four children were born in Adana. The city has one of the largest refugee populations in Türkiye due to its location close to the Syrian border.

Talking about their life in Syria, Ahmed and Zozan’s eyes light up. “We had our own house. We had fields. I worked in agriculture. We used to plant wheat, lentils… We had a good life. We were happy,” Ahmed says. Zozan adds, “We used to meet with our friends. We miss our home, our homeland.”

The family has a garden in front of their tent. Using the knowledge from agricultural work in Syria, Ahmed grows potatoes, onions, tomatoes, and eggplants.

No Access to Essential Services

“Now, life is expensive. Living in a tent is difficult, but we are trying to manage,” says Ahmed.

Life in Adana was very difficult for Ahmed’s family at the beginning. Ahmed’s family initially lived in a tent which was not formally registered with local authorities. Without full registration, they could not access any services such as healthcare or social assistance. The fact that their two daughters, 6-year-old Evin and 3-year-old Rodin , have hearing and speech impairments, brought further challenges.

Thanks to EU humanitarian funding, GOAL teams in Türkiye have helped Ahmed and his family tackle many challenges, working with the Presidency of Migration Management (PMM) office in Adana. GOAL teams have helped the family register their tent and they now have a legally recognised address. As a result, the family can finally access essential services.

Ahmed says that they were in a desperate situation before meeting staff from GOAL Türkiye. “The registration of our tent has made a big difference in our life. We can access health services. Now, we also receive monthly cash assistance via the Red Crescent card. Although it is not enough for everything, it allows us to meet our basic needs, especially food,” he says.

Evin (left) has received a hearing device thanks to GOAL Türkiye’s initiative, and now goes to school. Rodin will also get a hearing device soon.

Life Changing for the Better

After consultations at the local hospital, Evin has received a hearing aid, which has changed her life for the better, and Rodin will get hers soon. The family also received hygiene and winterisation kits, including tarpaulins, blankets and mattresses from GOAL Türkiye.

When asked about his dreams for the future, Ahmed says, “There is nothing I want for myself in my life. My only priority is my children. I want them to complete their education. This is what I want the most. Another wish of mine is for my daughters to be able to hear. I want them to be able to talk, and to hear the world. I want my daughters to become doctors.”