THE ANKARA REFUGEE MINISTRY
IS NOW CLOSED
We regret to announce that, due to a lack of funding, the Ankara Refugee Ministry has now ceased its formal operations.
We want to thank all of our supporters over the years for their generosity in helping us serve the refugees in our city.
While our ministry has ceased, the urgent needs of refugees in Ankara, in Turkey, and around the world remain.
We encourage churches around the world to seek out creative ways to help and serve refugees in their cities, and to serve Jesus by serving those who are in need, as Matthew 25:37-40 exorts us to.
Thank you again to all who gave and served during these last few years.
~ The Ankara Refugee Ministry Team
REFUGEES IN TURKEY
According to UNHCR, Turkey hosts the world’s largest refugee population, 3.5 million refugees. This means they make up at least 4% of Turkey’s population (85 million).
The majority of registered refugees are from Syria (3.2 million), with hundreds of thousands of others coming from Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan.
90% of refugees reside in urban areas like Ankara, not in refugee camps.
70% of the refugees in Turkey are women and children.
These numbers continue to increase due to civil war and terrorism.
In the midst of all of this, the local church is responding to meet the needs of these refugees.
WHO WE WERE
ARM was a ministry of Kurtulus Church, one of Turkey’s largest Protestant, evangelical churches, and a member of the Alliance of Protestant Churches of Turkey. Other Ankara churches that shared our heart and vision for refugees assisted in this project, as well as selected international charities. We believe that as the church, we are called to serve and love those in the communities around us. Our ministry is fueled by Jesus’ command to “Love Your Neighbor” – no matter where they come from.
WHAT WE DID
Our aim was to help refugees living in Ankara by meeting both short-term and long-term needs. Kurtuluş Church worked alongside three other Ankara churches to distribute food boxes to 500 refugee families each week. Each food box provided approximately a week’s worth of food staples for three persons. While refugee families are often larger than three, this food serves as a vital supplement to a sometimes meager diet. We began by serving 5 families and by the end we grew to nearly 6,000 registered families in our database.
When refugees came to our center for a food box, they also were invited to receive donated clothing, blankets, hygiene kits, children’s coats and more. They also had access to our first aid room, where we offered simple health services and basic medications. Parents who arrive with children could leave them in the supervised playroom while they were served. In addition, we had Bibles, New Testaments, and other resources for interested persons, including evangelism and discipleship courses and Christian media resources in Arabic.
Helping refugees think about long-term solutions was also an important part of our work. We provided English language courses throughout the week, and since so many of our refugees will be in Turkey for the foreseeable future, we also ran a Turkish language course. In addition to these courses, we also ran friendship clubs and an art group, where women can gather together to process their experiences through making art. Local volunteers provided art opportunities for children during the food distribution as well. By serving refugee families and visiting them in their homes, we were able to get to know them better and learn how we can better help them rebuild their lives.
Our biggest long-term project was the Jaraki Sewing Project, where we taught refugee women to make purses, tablet cases, messenger bags, etc. from old Turkish rugs. The project grew quickly after its launch. We compensated the women for the products they made, and we sold their products around the world. This project grew into a full-scale business. We also partnered with Coffee Haus Coffee Roasters to open a cafe in the neighborhood of our refugee building. The cafe employed refugees and trained them in marketable business skills. We also featured products of the Sewing Project in the cafe, and all of the profits earned from product sales went back into the refugee ministry.
While our ministry in Ankara has come to an end, we have partner ministries that are continuing to minister to refugees and those in need around the world. If you would like to help support those ministries you can do so through our partner Alcansa Ministries.