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Uyghurs in Turkey Need Support Not Handouts

Mar 22, 2021

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Two years ago, Charity Right embarked on a project to support hundreds of Uyghur women living in Istanbul with monthly food packs following their displacement. Ongoing persecution of Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslim communities in China’s Xinjiang province has led to an influx of refugees in Turkey.

Supporting Uyghur women with monthly food packs was one way to ensure they had more time to learn new skills and learn the Turkish language as opposed to worrying about where their next meal was going to come from or whether they’d have to migrate elsewhere in search of life’s essentials.

After some incredibly positive signs of success, we have now decided to broaden the programme and widen our impact in the region. Charity Right will be working with locally registered and run charity Hira Foundation who have been providing free education to Uyghur children for several years.

Charity Right will provide monthly food allowances to programmes aimed at training widows and single parents in the art of tailoring - a booming industry in Turkey's capital. The purpose of this programme is to ensure self-determination for those participating. We encourage self-sufficiency and dignity in the long term as opposed to a life dependant on handouts and financial support.

Charity Right is also looking to work with local schools to ensure that disadvantaged children from the Uyghur Community have the sustenance required to get through the school day. By providing school meals, Charity Right hopes to encourage parents to start sending their children to school, if they are not already doing so, and to motivate families to keep their children in education for as long as possible. We believe education is key to breaking cycles of poverty in the long term.

One of those schools is on the outskirts of Istanbul. Recently-opened, it cares for over 100 Uyghur girls. Some of the schoolgirls board at the school due to the passing or imprisonment of their parents in China’s north-western Xinjiang province.

The school provides a nurturing environment for those attending but it does more than just provide a safe space, the girls receive a well-rounded education. Alongside core subjects, the girls also learn Turkish, English and the Uyghur language.

We hope that these programmes will restore dignity in the lives of displaced Uyghurs and help in the rebuilding of what was lost.

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