A Message Draws a Smile

“'Oh, my goodness!' thought I, when a message from IOM Turkey popped up on my phone, informing me that I received some money,” says Mohanad with a big smile on his face.

These were the words of Mohanad, a Syrian migrant living in Gaziantep province, Turkey. He loves his children a lot, which was the main reason for him to leave Syria and immigrate to Turkey for a peaceful life.

“My little girl woke up scared in the night, saying 'A bomb, a bomb!'” recalls Mohanad. Seeking safety, he had to leave Deir-Ezzor, his hometown, to Al Hasakah province in Syria before making it to Turkey in 2016.

He came to Gaziantep directly, where he had a friend. “When we first came here, we did not have any money, and I borrowed some from my friend to rent a house for my family,” tells Mohanad.

Having solid experience in trucks maintenance and repair in Syria, he wanted to find a similar job in Gaziantep. In the beginning, he failed and had to take up seasonal jobs before he found a mechanic job in 2017. Today, he still works in the car mechanic shop. He has a very good relationship with his Turkish employer; from time to time, his employer visits Mohanad at his place and helps him and his family to satisfy their basic needs.

A few months ago, when Mohanad was working, he saw a message notification on his phone – it was a message from IOM Turkey informing him to go to a post office to receive cash assistance. “I was so happy when I read the message! It was really on time as I didn’t know how to buy firewood to warm up my family… And it was freezing at the time,” says Mohanad.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the lifestyle of people has changed, so have the income of many households. Craftsmanship work like Mohanad’s was hit the hardest by COVID-19. “We receive just a few cars to be repaired, not as many as we used to. People are scared of coronavirus and don’t spend a lot of time outside,” tells Mohanad.

When Mohanad recalls that message from IOM Turkey that made his day and timely assistance that he received, he smiles and looks happy: “I prayed for everyone who was running this assistance”.

Fortunately for Mohanad, he is one of many people benefiting from the IOM’s Cash-Based Interventions (CBI) Program. The CBI Programme gives its beneficiaries a choice to buy items that are most relevant to their needs. The program supports people across 65 provinces in Turkey. This year, the program has helped almost 16758 beneficiaries in Turkey.