The Refugee Support Program
For compassionate volunteers who wish to work with Syrian refugees who have suffered greatly as the result of violence and fear, this program is ideal. Millions of Syrian refugees have been flooding into Turkey since 2011, the result of a long and tragic civil war. Fleeing with nothing, these refugees are in dire need of support. While Turkey and Syria are similar in many ways, Syrian refugees still have difficulty integrating into Turkish society. Many are still in shock from their experiences, suffering alienation and grief. International volunteers on this program will work alongside refugees on a multitude of projects and economic development programs, teaching them life-skills that can change their futures and help them escape the poverty cycle. Working with Syrian refugee families will be 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 of Syria
- Improve the future prospects of children and adults through education, assistance programs and financial initiatives
- 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 helping Syrian 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 and monitoring their lives and culture. Participants on this program will work both in the field and in the program office, assisting with the implementation of initiatives that support refugees in creating a better life. 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 are expected to work hands on with refugees, share their culture and show them the compassion and empathy they deserve. In the office, participants will be expected to help with the administration of the refugee program, utilizing the skills they can offer. 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 refugees in their new lives, providing feedback to the program
- Spend time with refugees, showing friendship and compassion
- 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!
Additionally, volunteers applying to join this program will be required to supply to following documentation:
- Emergency contact
- Police check
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 Syrian refugees, fleeing their home country to neighboring Turkey to escape civil war and terror. With the majority flocking to Istanbul, the city is in dire need of programs to assist these Syrian 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 SATURDAY. 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 your arrival in Istanbul, you will be collected at the airport and delivered to your accommodation. Here you will receive an orientation to help you settle in, find out about your volunteering placement, the local surroundings and meet your 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 Airport: Istanbul Atatürk Airport, Istanbul, Turkey (Code: IST)
Accommodation & Meals
Volunteers on this project are accommodated at a wonderful public hostel, which is perfectly located in a great area of central Istanbul and within a short commute from the project site/s and the many attractions of this magical city. The hostel is well managed and meticulously clean, and Love Volunteers are usually all placed together when possible.
All standard amenities are available in the hostel, including hot showers and modern bathrooms, laundry room with washing machine, air conditioning, microwave and there is even free Wi-Fi and computers! This is a perfect home away from home and a wonderful base for your stay in Turkey!
Volunteers are provided with breakfast, lunch and dinner every day (included in program fee). The food is plentiful, tasty and fresh! Volunteers are also welcome, as and when they please, to take the opportunity to experience the amazing culture and cuisine that Istanbul has to offer. Simply get a few of your fellow hostel mates together and head out to one of the hundreds of local restaurants, bars, cafes or markets!
Private/double rooms are available on request (additional fees may apply). Sorry, no home-stay options are available in this location.
*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.