Humanitarian Aid Activities and Experiences in 2022

Murat Yılmaz
Orphan Foundation President

The Orphan Foundation, which is a specialized institution, was established in 2017 with the aim of contributing to the physical and psychological well-being of orphan children as they grow and develop with love and care, both in Türkiye and around the world. Our foundation includes not only orphans but also vulnerable children, encompassing 40% of the world’s child population, numbering 2.5 billion. The mothers of orphaned children are also supported by our institution. In the services provided by our foundation, there is no age limit, and we continue to support orphans from early childhood until they are self-reliant.

As the Orphan Foundation, we aim to help children who have experienced the loss of a parent and their family members cope with this loss and alleviate the psychological impact it has on individuals through psychosocial support activities, educational support, in-kind and cash assistance, as well as development projects. We implement various projects such as ‘Welfare Stops,’ ‘Sponsorship Support Project,’ ‘Sibling Family Project,’ ‘Goodness Next in Line Project,’ ‘Goodness Ship,’ ‘Paintings that Touch Dreams,’ ‘Kills Pre-school,’ ‘Warm Love Melts the Cold,’ and ‘My Street is Celebrating,’ which include educational programs, protective and preventative social services, social assistance, psychosocial support, and development workshops for orphaned children.

Currently, through the ‘Sponsorship Support System,’ we provide monthly cash assistance to 9,600 orphan children in Türkiye and 21 other countries. Throughout the year, we provide seasonal support to over 700,000 orphans through dozens of projects in 33 countries, including Türkiye, the Middle East, Balkans, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and the Far East.

In 2022, we witnessed the impact of the pandemic receding, normalization of travel between countries to a large extent, but countries becoming more cautious in economic terms. We also witnessed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its global repercussions, especially affecting Europe. Due to the war, over 11 million Ukrainians, mostly women and children, were forced to migrate. The problems centered around legacy child centers from previous years certainly did not pass 2022 without affecting us. In the activities we conducted throughout the year as the Orphan Foundation, we can list the problems we encountered as follows: 

The majority of the 33 countries where our foundation operates are primarily plagues by the most significant issues of war and poverty. War and poverty, which create problems that are difficult to remedy when timely measures are not taken against their effects, lead to children becoming orphaned and deprived. Among the negative aspects we observe at the Orphan Foundation are migration and child refugees, shelter issues, violence within families and on the streets, physical and emotional abuse, security problems, child labor, street children, educational issues, and child marriages.

In this context, the countries in which the Orphan Foundation operates, including Syria, Palestine, and Yemen in the midst of violence, as well as Sri Lanka, Iraq, Lebanon, Iran, Mali, Chad, Burkina Faso, Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Benin, Togo, the Philippines/Moro, Bangladesh, Myanmar/Arakan, and Afghanistan, are among the first countries that come to mind with local conflicts and poverty. In these countries, the Orphan Foundation carries out humanitarian aid activities during Ramadan and Eid al-Adha, at the beginning of the school year, during the winter months in affected countries, and in times of urgent humanitarian needs.

In the context of Syria, our range of activities extend to a broader area. In Hatay/Reyhanlı, Kilis, Idlib, our foundation conducts psychosocial support and social service activities and deals with more than 5,000 mothers and children in this field alone throughout the year. In Syria, various activities are carried out, including orphan settlement support, social and cash assistance, education, health, and vocational training programs.

While our country’s institutions have the mission of standing by the oppressed and victims anywhere in the world, to leave a more lasting impact in these regions, we need to be more effective in the economic, political, and cultural fields. Taking steps in chronic disaster areas and in the pre-disaster period in the field of humanitarian aid is vital to prevent the heavy toll of the crisis period and to prevent humanitarian disasters. For this reason, it is essential to ensure the fair distribution of the more than 30 billion USD in UN humanitarian aid funds.

In today’s world, where more than one billion people suffer from poverty and related causes, one in every four children lives in war, poverty, and disaster-prone areas. To address these issues affecting children, the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is crucial. 

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