Our voucher card project, which we carry out to respond to the hygiene needs that still exist in the earthquake zone, continues. Hafza, a mother of 5 children living in a container city in Hatay, told us about her story of survival after the earthquake and the impact of our voucher card project on her life.

Hafza* came to Türkiye from Syria in 2011 when the war started. When they fled, her first child had been born 11 days before and she was 20 years old. Hafza established a new life with her husband in Hatay, where she gave birth to 4 more children. Today she has 5 children aged 12, 10, 7, 4 and 2.

Hafza, whose husband worked in a bakery, says that they were self-sufficient before the earthquake, but the earthquake changed their economic situation as well as everything else: "When my husband was working, I could buy whatever I wanted from the market, but after the earthquake he has not worked even for a day. My son is fasting, yesterday he asked me to buy a doughnut, I couldn't even buy it, it hurt me so much." The family's main sources of income are the monthly social assistance support from the Emergency Social Safety Net Programme (ESSN) of the Red Crescent and the rent support from the state. However, Hafza states that they will no longer be able to benefit from this support after they moved to the container city.


The family, whose rented house in Narlıca was completely destroyed in the earthquake, managed to get out before the building collapsed. They lived in Zeytin Dalı informal shelter in Narlıca for a long time. About 1 month ago, they moved to Hilal Kent container centre in Üzümdalı neighbourhood. About 2500 families live in this area, which was opened in December and only accommodates refugee families. The family of 7 lives in two folding containers, also called 'Chinese type containers', consisting of a single room without toilet and bathroom. They use one room as living space and the other as kitchen and storage. Although it offers cleaner conditions than informal area, living here still has its difficulties:  "There are 10 toilets and 10 showers in the whole area. It is difficult to find clean toilets. As I have 5 children, I have to use the toilet and shower frequently. But they are 500 metres away from our container. Both the distance is difficult and it is a problem to go there, especially at night. Last week they installed lighting, now it is a bit easier."

Hafza and Support to Life crossed paths at the Zeytin Dalı informal shelter in Narlıca: "We had the most difficulties with toilets and bathrooms there. Support to Life installed toilets and showers. Your organisation was the only one support us," she recounts this first meeting.

After installing toilets and showers in the informal shelter where Hafza lives, we distributed food packs, hygiene packs and drinking water, followed by pallets and mats to protect the tents from seasonal conditions. We then started a voucher card project in partnership with World Vision Syria Response to enable families like Hafza to identify and purchase their own hygiene needs.


Thanks to the cash assistance loaded on the cards distributed within the scope of this project, Hafza has been able to purchase her hygiene needs from a contracted market in Narlıca for 3 months: "I mostly bought nappies, wet wipes and napkins for my 2-year-old daughter. I bought shampoo, detergent and bleach. The card was very important in this respect, because we do not receive any hygiene supplies here. Without this card, I would not have been able to buy what I needed."

Thanks to this voucher card support, which will last for a total of 4 months, Hafza will be able to meet the needs of her family. Afterwards, for now, is full of uncertainties. Her biggest wish is for her husband to find a job and for her children to continue their schooling without problem. And also to be able to live without food shortage.

*The name of the beneficiary has been changed to protect her personal rights.

Gözde Kazaz
Communication Expert / Hatay
Photo: Özgür Doğan


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