Turkey is currently home to nearly four million displaced people, the world’s largest refugee population, and around 3.6 million of them are Syrians who fled the war that has devastated their country. International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies (IFRC, for its acronym in English) is no stranger to these figures and this Tuesday, December 8, launches the digital campaign #powertobe, which connects Turkey’s most inspiring and talented refugees with influencers from all over Europe, like musician Antonio Orozco. An initiative that reflects the passions and dreams of four young refugees – a singer, a cook, a footballer and a parkour runner – who regain control of their lives through the largest humanitarian program in the European Union.
The campaign provides financial support to vulnerable refugees in Turkey struggling to make ends meet. The four participating in it are supported by the Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN), funded by the European Union and implemented by the IFCR and the Turkish Red Crescent, in partnership with the Government of Turkey.
Through the ESSN, about 1.8 million vulnerable refugees, the majority from Syria, receive small monthly payments using a debit card. Regular cash support allows them to pay for what they need most, such as food, rent, transportation, or medicine. An additional quarterly allowance is provided, depending on family size, with special payments for those in need of additional care.
This financial support gives families the dignity to choose and prevents them from adopting negative coping mechanisms, such as taking children out of school to contribute money to the family or going into further debt. Thanks to the ESSN, families regain control of their lives and, ultimately, the power to be themselves.
The digital campaign #powertobe It is launched in five countries – Austria, France, Romania, Spain and Turkey – with the aim of raising awareness about the challenges faced by people fleeing conflict, portraying them with different people with their own passions and talents.
The passions of Hamad, Davud, Amal and Bilal
Hamad, Davud, Amal and Bilal are four refugees who talk about their passion, their dreams and challenges, as they rebuild a new normal in Turkey with the assistance of ESSN. Through this campaign, which runs from December 8 to January 4, we can see these four displaced young people chat with influencers who are in other countries and how they discuss their common passions in video messages, online calls and clips of mobile phone to the eyes.
Hamad / singer: “You will find me singing anywhere”
Hamad likes to sing love songs at home, outdoors, with friends … Singing helps him overcome his problems. He fled Syria to Turkey as a refugee and thanks to the provision of ESSN he can buy the things that are most important to him. He exchanges mobile phone clips with Antonio Orozco, who listens to him from Spain, and with Feli, from Romania. He also rehearses some of his songs and always does it in Arabic.
For Hamad music is so important because it is the food of his soul. This is how she tells how she lives her passion for singing to Antonio Orozco, with whom she shares her passion for love songs: “The Red Crescent card helps us buy everything we need at home. We arrived from Syria only with the clothes that we were wearing. When faced with a difficult situation, I sing. Singing fills my soul. Singing is not just a passion, for me it is everything in life and you will usually find me singing anywhere. ”
Davud / parkour runner: “I have a lot of energy”
He likes sports of all kinds, although what he is really passionate about is parkour, ‘the art of displacement’, that practice that consists of moving from one point to another in the city adapting to the demands of the terrain with the only help of the own body. The streets with Davud’s gym, who also practices balance and somersaults on mattresses in his family’s living room, though he prefers to train outside.
In the campaign video, Davud shows off his favorite move, the “bargainer.” She has been living with her parents and siblings in Istanbul since she fled Syria and uses the ESSN grant to buy bus tickets or daily breakfast on the way to school. In the videos with Alex from Austria and Phosky from Spain, he talks about the best places to practice parkour. He is passionate about it and practices it almost every day with his friend Cengiz: “I came to Turkey in 2012. The lack of food in Syria made us have to move here. It is difficult to adapt to a new place, but I have a lot of energy. Parkour gives adrenaline “.
Amal / cook: “We came alone with our souls”
She has her own YouTube channel and regularly posts cooking videos with delicious recipes. For the digital campaign #powertobe She makes hummus, without garlic and with lots of tahini, which is her favorite. Amal talks about cooking with Idil from Turkey and Ryan from France. She is the mother of three children and uses the ESSN monthly allowance mostly to buy food.
The kitchen allows her to enter into herself and opens up new possibilities for her after being forced to abandon her studies in Syria. Amal would like to open her own restaurant one day: “I didn’t bring anything with me from Syria. We came alone with our souls. Cooking helps me forget the outside world. The money I get helps me so that my children don’t lack anything.” .
Bilal / footballer: “My dream is to play for Real Madrid”
When Bilal came to Turkey from Syria, he was only nine years old. His family uses almost all of the ESSN subsidy for rent. He lives in Istanbul, trains in the small soccer fields in his neighborhood and his brother Mahmoud is always with him. Online, he swaps clips with Hamit from Turkey and only talks about one thing: football.
The great idol of Bilal is Cristiano Ronaldo, although he still does not understand why the famous Portuguese footballer left Real Madrid for Juventus, since what he would like most would be to play for the Madrid team: “I don’t know why Ronaldo He left Real Madrid, I wouldn’t have done it because my dream is to play for Real Madrid and one of the great Turkish teams, Besiktas.
Influential people, influencers from all over Europe, show their commitment to refugees in Turkey and participate in the campaign of IFRC, from the Spanish musician Antonio Orozco to the Turkish-American cook Idil Yazar.
Antonio Orozco / Spain / singer
The Spanish singer-songwriter and composer was born in Barcelona in 1972, the son of Sevillian workers. At age 15 he bought his first guitar and began composing songs. He has been awarded the Ondas Award and his success has allowed him to perform throughout Latin America and the United States.
Phosky / Spain / parkour runner
Phosky is a Spanish parkour athlete, member of the famous Galizian Urban Project, with which the parkour movement has had a lasting and global influence with his Spanish friends. Phosky’s movements are characterized by their flow, variety, and unique style. In addition to international projects, he teaches workshops, such as at the ParkourOne Academy in Berlin, on different approaches, philosophies and communities of parkour.
Alex Schauer / Austria / corredor parkour
He is a professional freerunner and parkour athlete from Austria. Alex works as an actor, content creator, director, and stuntman. His life revolves around discovering paths and possibilities that no one has explored before. Thanks to his many travels, he knows exactly what it is like to be in a foreign environment. His open-mindedness and willingness to cross borders make him a great ESSN ambassador.
Ryan Milstein / France / Cook
Ryan is one of the three founders of the La Main Noire cooking collective. The trio met in Melbourne, capital of modern brunch and coffee shops. After traveling several continents, always looking for new experiences and inspiration. They returned to Paris together and founded La Main Noire, a group specializing in the culture of those cafes and brunches that delight them. His ambitions: new ideas and new healthy, delicious and innovative products, to delight the Parisian coffee scene as well.
Feli Donose / Romania / music
Better known as Feli, this Romanian singer-songwriter became famous thanks to her participation in the Romanian show The Voice in 2012. Unlike other pop stars, Feli likes to show her reserved and unadorned side on her account. of Instagram, which makes her a close, friendly and accessible person for many.
Hamit Altıntop / Turkey / former footballer
Hamit was born in 1982 in Gelsenkirchen. He is a former professional soccer player and former player for the Turkish national team with a brilliant international career. His twin brother, Halil, was also a professional footballer and also played for the national team. Since June 1, 2019, Hamit has been a member of the board of directors of the Turkish Football Association, as well as a volunteer for the German Bone Marrow Donation Center DKMS. In 2010 he advertised all over Turkey about the importance of stem cell donation.
Idil Yazar / Turkey / cook
Born in 1985 and raised in the United States, Idil combines her business experience and culinary training with her passion for cooking online. In 2015, he opened his cooking channel on YouTube, which has become one of the most popular of all food on the video platform, with more than 600 published recipes and 700,000 subscribers.
The ESSN program
The ESSN prepaid debit card is available to all refugees in Turkey, home to the largest refugee population in the world – nearly four million people.
An average household of six people receives 720 lira (current exchange rate) Turkish each month. In addition, the family receives ‘extras’ every four months depending on their needs. Thanks to this help, 97% of families can maintain a balanced and varied diet.
The money can be used in stores or for paying rent, buying food or simply on a day-to-day basis.
This aid enables people to participate in community life and contribute to their local economies.