News, Turkey

Toys and candy bring joy to Syrian children

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An aid campaign focused on displaced Syrian children living in Turkey culminated on Children’s Day yesterday with the delivery of toys to little boys and girls.

The “It is Child’s Play to Make Them Happy” campaign is organized by the Üsküdar Municipality, a district on Istanbul’s Asian side. The municipality set up boxes in central locations in Üsküdar between March and April and called on people to donate toys for Syrian children.

Municipality officials loaded toys and food aid gathered during another campaign on seven trucks and departed for Şanlıurfa, the southeastern Turkish province located on the Turkish-Syrian border. Şanlıurfa is home to more than 102,000 displaced Syrians in tent camps and a “container city” made of shipping containers converted into housing units. It is estimated that even more Syrians reside outside the camps.

Trucks were unloaded in Suruç, a district of Şanlıurfa where 23,901 Syrians stay in a tent camp. Children flocked to an education center set up by UNICEF and Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) where the distribution of the toys was launched after a ceremony. Syrian children performed dances and sang songs at the ceremony, and the ceremony was emotionally-charged as children reciting poems on their longing for their home country choked back their tears. The gloomy atmosphere was brightened again as aid workers delivered children balloons, ice cream and candy before they unwrapped their presents.

In total, aid workers delivered 40,000 toys and 5,000 boxes of food to Syrian children and their families.

Üsküdar Mayor Hilmi Türkmen said at the ceremony that they simply wanted to “bring a smile to the innocent faces of these children who fell victim to the war.”

Resource: Daily Sabah, April 24, 2015

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