An act of kindness provides a new beginning to stranded family

“All my belongings that I bought since I moved  to Turkey in 2015 had been destroyed. I started to think of where I would live and whether I would be able to start from scratch again.”

These were the words of Ali, a Syrian migrant living in Hatay province, Turkey months after his home was engulfed by flames and destroyed. The incident occurred whilst he was at work in a nearby city of Kilis where he works as a seasonal agricultural worker.  After receiving the news, he quickly returned to Hatay to check on the condition of his wife and four children. Fortunately none of them were injured but their home had been completely destroyed.

Turkish and Syrian neighbors who saw the fire helped each other to save one of Ali’s children who was still in the house when the fire started. With his family safe, Ali’s biggest concern was his family’s security and how they would begin to rebuild their lives. To his surprise, Huseyin, Ali’s landlord instantaneously offered him temporary accommodation at another property he owned.

“This person is a good man who already went through the tragedy of the war in his country. We also live in the same neighborhood and we have to help each other,” said Huseyin. In another act of kindness, Huseyin went a step further and requested the local Muhtar (community leader) to assist Ali and his family. The Muhtar, put Ali in touch with representatives from IOM, who considered his case suitable for rehabilitation under one of their rehabilitation and community stabilization programs. 

After conducting the necessary needs assessment, IOM community stabilization and shelter team began the process of rebuilding Ali’s burnt down home. The process took about a month and Ali and his family moved back to their newly renovated home.

“They did not only rebuild the destroyed roof, they replaced the wooden doors with iron ones to make the house safer and repainted everything. Moreover, they provided us with some of  the belongings that were destroyed such as mattresses and kitchen utensils. When I saw the house, I could not believe it was the same house that was burnt,” said Ali as he expressed his gratitude.

Since IOM had completely rehabilitated the house free of charge, Huysein agreed to let Ali’s family reside in the new house without paying rent for two years. Ali, plans to use the money that he was usually using to pay for his rent on purchasing some of the things that were lost during the fire.


Photos © IOM 2019/ Mehmet SADIKOGLU