The Turkey Edition

Displaced by war, more than 3.6 million Syrians have taken refuge in Turkey since 2011. Fatima, Hasan and Jameela tell their stories in this interactive documentary, dedicated to capturing the voices of Syrian refugees and conveying the human impact of the crisis.


Since the conflict in Syria began in 2011, Syrians have been seeking refuge in neighbouring Turkey. As of October 2018, there are more than 3.6 million Syrian refugees in Turkey, making it host to the highest number of refugees in the world. More than 95% are living in host communities in Turkey, with the remainder in government-administered shelters.

Syrian refugees in Turkey are eligible to receive temporary protection status from the Turkish government, which formalises their presence in Turkey and serves as a key to access essential services such as healthcare and education. Under the healthcare policy in Turkey, refugees who have the Temporary Protection Identity Documents (TPID) have the right to become individual holders of health insurance.

However, with more than 64% of them living under the poverty line [3RP], they often face challenges in affording some of the medicines and medical services that require co-payment. Furthermore, as health insurance only accessible in the cities refugees were originally registered in, those who have moved to new areas often find themselves making long and expensive journeys to be able to receive the medical attention they need. Despite the efforts of the Turkish government, international community and the host community, significant challenges to the ongoing protection of Syrians in Turkey remain.

The Danish Refugee Council (DRC) with funding from the European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) is working to ensure that vulnerable refugees in Turkey are protected from harm until lasting solutions are integrated into government systems resulting in sustainable and equitable access to services for refugees. DRC and its implementing partners offer a wide range of protective services including helping refugees access the services they need, awareness raising on refugee rights in Turkey, travel safety information sessions, legal and travel assistance, psychosocial support, case management and individual protection assistance.

The Lost in Refuge interactive documentary introduces three Syrian refugees who have been affected by the war in Syria and have benefitted from the protection activities provided by DRC and EU funded humanitarian aid in ways that have changed their lives.



The Danish Refugee Council (DRC) is a humanitarian, non-governmental, non-profit organisation founded in 1956 that works in more than 40 countries throughout the world. DRC fulfils its mandate by providing direct assistance to conflict-affected populations, including refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and host communities throughout the displacement continuum.



The European Union and its Member States are the world’s leading donor of humanitarian aid. Relief assistance is an expression of European solidarity with people in need all around the world. It aims to save lives, prevent and alleviate human suffering, and safeguard the integrity and human dignity of populations affected by natural disasters and man-made crises.

Through its Civil Protection and Humanitarian aid Operations department(ECHO), the European Union helps millions of victims of conflict and disasters every year. With headquarters in Brussels and a global network of field offices, the EU provides assistance to the most vulnerable people on the basis of humanitarian needs.


Jameela's Story

Displaced by one of the most severe conflicts in recent, over 3.6 million Syrians have fled to Turkey, where they decided to seek refuge and a safe place to live. Jameela and her children are no different. Haunted by the past and facing an uncertain future, the mother has found herself the sole supporter of her family and trying to rebuild their war-torn lives.

With her savings quickly depleting, the 31-year-old mother struggled to find an affordable place for her family to live. Without a Temporary Protection (TP ID) card, a document that allows Syrian refugees to move freely, access services, obtain work permits, and receive humanitarian aid, Jameela could not stay in the same place for long in fear of being sent back to Syria because of a lack of official documentation. With the help of the Danish Refugee Council’s (DRC) protection team and with funding from the European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO), Jameela was able to successfully apply for the ID and was finally able to start rebuilding her life.

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As the sole supporter of her family, Jameela has been working odd jobs just to make sure there is a roof over their heads and food on the table. The mother of four works for 8 hours a day and makes less than 8 euros per day. With limited resources, Jameela cannot afford daycare, instead, she has to leave her eldest children; Alia (8) and Sami (6), in charge of their younger siblings. Alia and Sami, however, are missing their chance at an education.

While Jameela continues to struggle to make ends meet and is almost always in debt, she does not plan on going back to what she calls an unsafe Syria. “Life is hard here, but at least we can sleep at night without fear,” she said.

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Fatima's Story

Fatima wears her pink jacket, her cute headband and her hair up in a ponytail as she heads out to school. With her innocent smile and exuberant personality, she looks like any other 7-year-old, except for the fact that she has survived a brutal war that has made her family among the 5.6 million Syrians who fled the country.

Having fled Syria to Turkey almost four years ago, the little girl does not remember much of her hometown. She does however, know that her family had to flee their country after her mother lost one of her legs during a missile attack and the country was no longer safe for them.

Even at her young age, Fatima has to help her mother a lot around the house. While her parents try to give their children a normal childhood, with their mother’s disability standing in the way, life is not always easy or smooth. She sometimes has to feed her little sister and brother, and helps them with their daily hygiene routine. Living away from home without many friends or family around has brought this family closer and Fatima and her 5-year-old sister, Sarah, are very close. “She is the best friend in the whole world,” she said while hugging her sister.

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When the family first entered Turkey, Fatima was registered as two years older than her true age. When it was time for her to go to school, the little girl had to enter third grade instead of first, since that was her age on the Temporary Protection (TP ID) card, a document that allows her to access services, move freely, and receive humanitarian aid. Fatima’s parents believe in the importance of education and could not let their daughter become one the 40% of Syrian refugee children in Turkey who are out of school.

With the help of the Danish Refugee Council’s legal team in Kilis, and with funding from the European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO), the mistake was rectified and she was able to enroll as a first-grader in a school a few blocks away from where they live.

While the children call Turkey their home, they would love to go and visit all the beautiful places their parents always tell them about. They cannot wait to meet their cousins and see their grandparents again.

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Hasan's Story

Life in Halab for Hasan and his family was interrupted when the Syria war broke out. Their little daughter, Mayyar, was also diagnosed with a rare heart disease. With the war tearing the country apart leaving only 50% of the healthcare facilities working, Hasan and his wife, Roba, had no other choice but to flee to Turkey and joined the 3.6 million Syrian refugees living there.

The Syrian conflict left the 32-year-old man without savings or a job and when the family fled to Turkey, they barely had enough money to afford food. With a Temporary Protection (TP ID) card, a document that allows grants Syrian refugees protection in Turkey including access humanitarian services and work, Hasan was able to obtain a work permit and found a job in a barbershop near his house in Kilis. Working as a barber pays 250 euros per month, which helps Hasan cover the basic needs of his wife and their three children; Mayyar, Rania and Ali.

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To ensure Mayyar is doing well, Hasan has to make monthly trips to Istanbul for her regular check-ups. Even with a steady source of income, having to pay the monthly transportation fees to and from Istanbul has been a strain financially. While healthcare services are free for Syrian refugees in Turkey, the monthly trip to Istanbul costs more than 100 euros and has left Hasan almost always in debt.

With the help of the Danish Refugee Council’s (DRC) case management team, and with funding from the European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO), monthly flights to Istanbul were booked for Mayyar and Hasan. The little girl is getting better by the day and wishes to be able to enrolled in school sometime in the future.

After spending six years in refuge, Hasan would love to go back to Syria and his home there. However, until he makes sure his daughter is alright, he does not believe he will be returning any time soon. “I need to make sure my little girl is healthy. Her mother and I are very attached to her and cannot risk losing her,” he said.

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