The Focus Area in Humanitarian Aid: Persistent Problems and Innovative Approaches

Erdem Ayçiçek
Dr., Programs Officer at the Association of Assistance, Solidarity and Support for Refugees and Asylum-Seekers (ASRA)

Türkiye hosts millions of people displaced from their homeland. As a result, many actors have become responsible in ambiguous areas. During this period, the positions attained by the public authority in cooperation with local, national, and international actors, sometimes in opposition and sometimes in complementarity, highlight that a certain level of coordination in aid has been reached. We can categorize all humanitarian action in Türkiye based on the level of the problem at hand. In this respect, we can analyze the changes and transformations targeted by the services produced in terms of individuals, society, and institutions/organizations.

Basic humanitarian services provided by the Association of Assistance, Solidarity, and Support for Refugees and Asylum-Seekers (ASRA) include physical therapy and rehabilitation in healthcare facilities, mental health, and psychosocial support, comprehensive protection/social services, and programs on vocational training and resettlement in a third country. ASRA operates according to five operational guiding principles: (i) a consolidated regional approach to asylum seekers, (ii) adaptability to needs, (iii) coordinated relationships with local authorities and actors, (iv) operational consolidation, and (v) strong technical lead. The broad experience of ASRA in these areas forms the basis of service designs that support local, individual, and institutional resilience and meet the emergency needs of communities that are constantly changing, adaptable, and affected.

Forced migration can also devastate the informal support networks of social communities who have migrated from their homeland. Re-establishing and relocating families and other social support networks provides emotional and financial stability for these groups. ASRA puts lots of work into consolidating the natural relationship networks of this community, as improved social support, advice and information, shelter, emotional help, and approval will be a permanent and community-based response to practical needs at high levels of vulnerability. In this regard, it can be stated that the current mission of civil society is the “restoration of life in all aspects,” thus raising the self-confidence of vulnerable people, strengthening their social capital, and improving their access to fundamental rights and services.

For ASRA, 2022 means “a year of optimization of services, especially for high-sensitive groups who have arrived in Türkiye as a result of forced migration.” During this period, our activities to further strengthen the bond between humanitarian aid and life itself include physical therapy and mental health services for disabled individuals and their caregivers, a health special needs fund to cover health expenses that are not covered or partially covered by general health insurance, mental health and psychosocial support activities for disability acceptance and caregiving processes. Anyone who is in a medical emergency or has a chronic illness can benefit from these services. Therefore, we focused on the most relevant aspect that will ensure the participation of disabled people in social life and have carried out activities to ensure that people in emergency health need have access to health services.

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