The Refugee Education Support Program
This program is for compassionate volunteers who wish to provide valuable assistance in the refugee crisis in Turkey.
While the violence and conflict never cease to end in the world, millions of people are forced to run from their countries. Turkey is one of the countries that welcomed refugees from many different countries, especially Syria. They have suffered greatly as the result of violence and fear, and millions of refugees have been flooding into Turkey since 2011, to escape the ravages of a long and tragic civil war. Fleeing with nothing, these refugees require all of the basic necessities and the Turkish communities they have come to call home, are struggling with the increased demand on resources. Refugees have difficulty integrating into Turkish society. Many are still in shock from their experiences, suffering alienation and grief.
Strict rules exist around international volunteers working directly in refugee camps so our wonderful local partner has instead arranged for volunteers to work in local schools where refugees and Turkish children study side by side and where the teachers struggle to manage with the increased number of students. Working with these students is a hugely rewarding experience and a real eye-opener for any international volunteer. Based in the magnificent ancient Turkish city of Istanbul, a cultural heartland and bustling metropolis, volunteers will have the unique opportunity to experience all that this location has to offer while working to empower people to create a better life for their family.
Goals of this Project:
- Empower the refugees
- Provide much needed assistance to communities struggling with the refugee crisis
- Improve the future prospects of children through education
- Give the refugees a sense of hope for a brighter future
- Enable inter-cultural exchange which benefits both locals and international volunteers alike.
How You Can Help
This volunteering experience assisting refugees will be humbling and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help those who have truly suffered. Participants will support refugees by providing humanitarian services to children, aged between 5 and 16 years. Participants assist with the implementation of initiatives that support refugees in creating a better life.
Focused on the provision of social services aimed at education, assimilation and empowerment this program is primarily based in local Turkish schools where refugees have been placed. This program works to create a sense of belonging for disadvantaged refugees, helping them to create a quality life in Istanbul and work towards self-sufficiency. Volunteers share their culture and language through simple lessons, show compassion and empathy through their interactions with the children and run workshops in topics including art, music, science and drama; providing enrichment in the lives of children and much needed assistance to local teachers.
For those volunteers who possess a positive, can-do attitude and are not afraid to use their initiative, this is a wonderful opportunity to improve the lives of so many families. International volunteers are greatly needed to help support this important work and give these refugees the skills and assistance to work towards a better life.
Volunteers will contribute in a number of ways and can expect to undertake the following tasks:
- Provide humanitarian services
- Monitor refugee children in their new lives, providing feedback to the program
- Spend time with refugee and Turkish children, showing friendship and compassion and assisting with educational activities
- Provide assistance with the administrative functions of the program
Love Volunteers welcomes all those 18 years and over who wish to help create a brighter future for people living in marginalized communities of Turkey. While this project is best suited to those pursuing a career in the fields of anthropology, social work, social entrepreneurship and/or economics, volunteers who simply wish to be involved in a more ‘varied’ project are also welcomed as there are many ways you can assist and individual projects can often be tailored to suit the particular skills and interests or each participant. Importantly, all applicants must first and foremost have a genuine willingness to help, show drive and initiative, and bring a positive 'can-do' attitude. If this sounds like you, we want you on the team!
Volunteers must show proof of their Covid vaccination.
Additionally, volunteers applying to join this program will be required to supply to following documentation:
- Emergency contact
- Police check
- Vaccination Certificate
Love Volunteers have the enviable opportunity of working in and around the magical city of Istanbul. Situated on the Bosphorus, the strait that divides the European and Asian continents, this ancient city is a rich melting pot of people, religion and culture. Famed for its amazing cuisine, volunteers will experience an array of food choices, from coffee houses to market stalls and fine dining to street vendors. From World Heritage sites to the Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar and so many sightseeing opportunities, there is never a dull moment in this bustling metropolis - the largest city in Turkey.
Among this hive of activity however is a city with a large percentage of its people in need. Many families are struggling to survive, experiencing severe hardship and marginalization. Education can be haphazard at best, with children falling behind and into generational poverty unless they receive the dedicated support they need. Added onto an already complex social and financial landscape came millions of refugees, fleeing their home country to neighboring Turkey to escape war and terror. With the majority flocking to Istanbul, the city is in dire need of programs to assist these refugees into a brighter future.
For an experience like no other helping the inhabitants of Istanbul and its surrounds, Love Volunteers offers volunteering opportunities not to be missed.
Start Dates & Duration
This project is available year-round and programs start (arrival day) every SUNDAY. Volunteers can choose to participate for periods ranging from 1 week to 3 weeks. Longer stays on a single project cannot be accommodated, but volunteers are welcome to combine multiple projects in order to extend their stay in Istanbul (subject to availability and individual visa conditions).
Spaces on this project are limited and therefore subject to availability. Early booking is recommended.
For current available start dates please check the calendar on the right.
Arrival & Orientation
Upon arrival in Istanbul, you can travel by taxi or HAVABUS and HAVAIST buses from Sabiha Gökçen Airport/Istanbul Airport. The buses are white and the departure point of Sabiha Gökçen Airport is opposite the exit of the arrival hall of the terminal building. You will pay the taxi or bus directly for your transport.
Link: http://www.havabus.com/yolcuservisi/kadikoy-sabihagokcenhavalimani.aspx - Sabiha Gökçen Airport
Link: https://www.hava.ist/en/Voyage/VoyageTime - Istanbul Airport
You will receive an orientation from the local team to help you settle in, find out about your volunteering placement, the local surroundings and meet any fellow volunteers. A representative from the local team will fill you in on local and regional customs, traveling, rules and recommendations, and of course, what to expect from your volunteering experience. This is a great opportunity to get to know your hosts, meet your fellow volunteers, and ask any last questions you may have.
- Program Arrival Day: SUNDAY
- Program Departure Day: SATURDAY
- Arrival/Departure Airports:
Sabiha Gökçen İnternational Airport (code: SAW) OR
Istanbul Airport (code IST).
The local team can assist with your return airport transfer and the cost of this (approximately US$50) can be paid direct to them in-country.
Accommodation & Meals
Accommodation and meals are not provided on this program.
When booking your accommodation, we recommend that you look in the areas of Sultanahmet, Karakoy, Besiktas, Taksim, Beyoglu, Kadikoy or Uskudar.
These locations are good options due to their proximity to public transport, they are central, and great for exploring Turkey.
Volunteers will make their way to our local teams offices on the Monday morning for an orientation session and to begin their placement.
*In addition to the program fees listed above a Registration Fee is payable to secure your place. The registration fee is USD 299 for those volunteering with Love Volunteers for the first time or USD 149 for any subsequent volunteer placements. The registration fee includes: lifetime LV Alumni Membership, fundraising support & advice, dedicated pre-departure support, certificate of completion (on request), and exclusive access to the LV Trip Planner.
Some things are not included in the program fees listed above, such as flights, visas, vaccinations, travel insurance, additional foods and snacks, spending money, local transport, in-country trips and excursions, return airport transfer (unless mentioned above).
Please note that prices are subject to change without notice. Please ensure you have read the Love Volunteers Terms and Conditions & Refund Policy.