The Harvest Festival of the greenhouses occupying 19,000 square meters (204,515 square feet) of land in Turkiye’s southern border province Hatay’s Reyhanlı district was held Tuesday with the participation of Turkish Red Crescent (Kızılay) Chairperson Kerem Kınık, as he said that Turkiye has been providing social product support, protection and basic humanitarian support to people from many different nationalities who have escaped death with a humanitarian policy.
Kızılay has grown tens of tons of bananas and strawberries in the greenhouses established in Reyhanlı, the zero point of the Syrian border, within the scope of the Livelihood Development Project. The project was organized to provide Turkish and Syrian citizens in the district an opportunity to acquire a profession and make a living for themselves.
The bananas and strawberries grown by the trainees of the project were given to children in the surrounding orphanages and shelter houses.
Addressing reporters, Kınık said that 1.9 million people benefited from the multidimensional programs they run in 19 community centers.
He stated that in 2020, with the contributions of Reyhanlı Municipality, they provided vocational training to Turkish and Syrian trainees on a 20-decare (5-acre) farm and 1,300 people have received certificates so far.
Underlining that Kızılay has led various projects, he said: “Especially since the beginning of the Syrian crisis in 2011, we have been providing social product support, protection and basic humanitarian support to people from many different nationalities who have escaped death and taken refuge with us with a humanitarian policy, open door policy.”
Kınık said that millions of people were saved from the brink of death due to the protection provided by the state, projects implemented by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and the support of citizens, adding: “We tried to provide them with a dignified life and protection until the day they return to their country. Our Kızılay provides entrepreneurship training, psychosocial rehabilitation services and language training to our citizens or those under temporary protection status, with its multidimensional programs implemented in 19 community centers. Some 1.9 million beneficiaries have benefited from the multidimensional programs that we have carried out so far in our 19 community centers. Approximately 110,000 people benefited from the socioeconomic empowerment program we implemented with a budget of more than TL 300 million ($22 million). Some 526,000 people participated in our socioeconomic adaptation-based programs. More than 300,000 people benefited from our baby-child protection and youth programs.”
Stating that they attach great importance to employment, vocational training and entrepreneurship, Kınık said: “So far, 22,000 people have become certified professionals, 14,000 of them are women while 4,000 citizens of the Republic of Turkey. The rest are people who have taken refuge with us through our community centers and who do not have professional competence.”
Emphasizing the importance of the livelihood project, Kınık said: “As Kızılay, we declared 2022 as a year of solidarity in order to disseminate these examples throughout Turkiye faster and on a large scale.” He ended his speech by saying, “The most sustainable aid model to meet our needs by producing is free aid, as well as providing this model to our people, especially in geographies, regions and communities in need.”
Kınık also underlined that they attach great importance to cooperatives and women’s employment.
In the event, Kınık and his companions took part in the harvest of bananas and strawberries in the greenhouses.
Deputy Governor Erhan Günay, Provincial Director of Agriculture and Forestry Ergün Çolakoğlu, Provincial Health Director Mustafa Hambolat and representatives of agricultural chambers also attended the harvest festival.
Since the beginning of the Syrian civil war in 2011, Turkey has backed moderate opposition groups against the Assad regime and opened its doors to those fleeing the country to save their lives.
Now, Turkey hosts nearly 3.8 million Syrian migrants, more than any country in the world. The country also leads humanitarian aid efforts for Syrians in Turkey and opposition-controlled areas of northern Syria.
By Meltem Sarsılmaz,