In the 22 camps that are located near the Turkish-Syrian border, nearly 200 thousand people are struggling with their lives. These people can neither return to their homes nor seek refuge and security anywhere else. The camps located inside Syria have many problems but camps in Turkey are better in many ways in terms of hygiene and organisation.
The number of People Sheltering in Atmah Refugee Camp increasing Atmah Refugee Camp that is 15 km from Cilvegözü Entry Point of Reyhanlı district of Turkey is one of many camps. The Syrian refugees who sought shelter here in the first days of the bombardment started to live under the olive trees in Atmah region and were unable to turn back or move further inland as the war progressed. In one moment these trees have been their home and over time took the shape of a refugee camp. Today the number of refugees in the Atmah camp surpasses the 30 thousand mark, and this number increases daily with the increasing amount of barrel bombardments experienced in the neighbouring regions.
Those living in the camps have their needs met only through aid outside of the camps. Those whose financial situation is a little better have built mud brick rooms for themselves, yet those who are worse off live in tents donated to them. Water, electricity, cleaning and food products are in limited supply causing great distress to the families. Those who are better off have built stalls selling fruit, sweets and clothing to get by. Needless to say these buyers of these products are also less.
As always with any war, it is the women and children who have been at the receiving the major blow of the attacks. Abandoning their homes, these children cannot escape the psychological trauma and impact of the war.
The children’s playground in the camp and the empty land next to the camp has been only thing helping the children escape the trauma of the war and have some sense of happiness. This certainly may not be enough to help the war affected children. It is impossible to estimate the future impact on the souls of these children who have witnessed war with their own eyes.
It is far worse for the women living in the camps. They need to think of themselves and their children. To protect their children from the trauma, they need to remain strong for their families. They feel a great sense of contentment when in their entitled allowance lets them have only one item of clothing, for them they hold onto life despite the difficulties they face.
Volunteer Teachers Supporting the Children
There are almost 10 thousand children in the Atmah Refugee Camp. Volunteer teachers give them lessons in tents established for education to ensure they do not fall behind in their schooling.
The children have been distributed according to their ages and courses are given beginning from elementary to high school level. Teachers are wholly volunteers who also try to help for the psychological needs of the children as much as they can.