I’m writing this post to ask you for money. I don’t have a non-profit organization, there won’t be any tax-exemption on your donation, and you should donate only if you know and trust me that I will give this money to the people that I say that I will.
I’m in southern Turkey now photographing refugees who have fled the war in Syria and are now in Antep (Gaziantep), Turkey. Estimates place the number of refugees at between 200,000 and 500,000 in this city alone. These are people who have fled northern Syria, mostly from Aleppo province and the city of Aleppo, and have nowhere else to go.
Turkey has been kind enough to allow them in, but there are very few services for them here, rent is very expensive, and so is food. It’s hard for them to find jobs. While they can sometimes get help from their neighbors, it’s not enough. After accompanying me to visit several families today, a Turkish friend of mine remarked “It’s a shameful situation for humanity”. For people to be living in such abject poverty and need while the city grows and moves around them, most people not aware of their plight, IS shameful. That we allow this to happen to others when we have so much… well, I’m going to do what I can, please help me do it.
Today I met kids, orphans, who sleep in parks overnight because they have nowhere to go. I met young men who sleep in the waiting room of a hospital until they get roused by police. I met families living in the ruins of abandoned buildings, and I met the Alkadar family, sharing three rooms in a small home with 4 other families. There are 21 people living in that small home with no heat, no electricity, no running water, very little food, no access to health care, and very little prospect for work.
Politics don’t matter to me here, this an appeal to your humanity to help me raise some money for them so I can help them buy bread, blankets and mattresses, insulin, and blood pressure medication. Every dollar you send me will do directly to them. Just down the road from where they live shops, markets, and restaurants are crowded with middle class turkish people. I have never seen such a stark difference between abject need and poverty and abundance, so close together.
My goal is to raise $500 for this family to help them get on their feet. I am so sure that you will come through and help me raise this money that I’m going to go ahead and front it myself. Their need is real and urgent. They are from Aleppo, and tried to stay. But they had to keep moving from neighborhood to neighborhood as the shelling destroyed more and more of the city. Finally they fled to a village, where lack of food and jobs forced them to leave for turkey. They spent several months in a red crescent camp on the border. They didn’t get enough food there for the whole family, and were given no blankets or other basic supplies, so they decided to chance it in antep.
The head of the household, Mahmood, is 64 and too infirm to work. His son Hassan was killed, and the family is also caring for hassan’s two young children. Mahmood’s other son, Mustafa, works, but cannot do too much because of a gunshot wound to his right hand that has left it only partially functional.
I saw families like this in Aleppo last year when I was there, and to see them here, now, in turkey, with no help, has moved me to ask you for some money to help them.
Please give what you can by hitting the donate button on this page.