A while ago, we gathered the community members and we told them that we wanted to establish a learning center to provide education to the refugee children. The community was very welcoming and appreciative. We sat together and agreed to jointly pay for the rent for the first few months, even though we all had financial problems of our own.
We had many skilled people among the community and we needed time to identify and mobilize them. After we found a suitable location, we started “Refugee Learning Center” with 50 students.
The primary goal was to provide basic education to refugee children but it has evolved since its establishment. Today, we teach more than 300 children and also around 100 adult men and women.
We also create opportunities to play sports. Especially for women, who were always very interested in sports activities but who could not go outside of their houses freely in their home countries, let alone participate in any kind of sports. This is a huge step towards independence for them. Now, the women feel free and can do things for themselves.
We are also trying to bring the community closer and relieve their stress by organizing different social activities. We have organized two concerts in the past two years.
In addition, Refugee Learning Center provides the facilities for workshops and trainings conducted by diverse stakeholders.
All of these activities and opportunities put together give the refugees something meaningful to do while they wait for their resettlement process. Through our learning center the community members have a chance to utilize their abilities for a higher purpose. This initiative has brought unity and cooperation between different refugee communities and has made their bonds stronger. Before the establishment refugees were scared to do any kind of activity or even study, but we have proved that claiming your rights is not a crime.
We feel like this is a journey that we are on and we are trying our best to make this center sustainable for a long period of time so it can help all the refugees in the years to come.