A Visit to Karam Foundation and their Karam Houses in Türkiye.
We at Reaching Across Borders are proud to announce our partnership with Karam Foundation. Our shared vision of humanitarian services while respecting human dignity is what makes us natural partners.
In July 2022, I have visited the Karam Houses, two community centers for Karam’s in-person programs in both Reyhanli and Istanbul, Türkiye.
When you enter the gates, you see clean, neat, well-kept houses that are tastefully decorated to serve as a sanctuary inside and in the gardens. The atmosphere in the Houses and among the Karam team are welcoming, inviting, and professional. Everything is done with purpose, and that purpose is: building an environment where refugee communities feel safe, learn, exercise creativity, receive encouragement, and feel free to dream big.
I had the opportunity to speak with several students. All of them spoke about the war in Syria, the impact it has had on them and their families, their challenges and hardships, and their own experiences of being bullied in Türkiye by their peers because of their refugee status. But they spoke most of all about their career aspirations.
These students’ determination and ambition to be the best in their studies is driven by two factors:
- an awareness that education is a critical path to a life of dignity, and
- the atmosphere of hope, of imagining a bold future, and of making that future a reality that is built into the programs and opportunities at Karam House. These students are confident that they will be able to adapt to changes in their lives.
They are convinced (and so am I) that their experiences at the Karam Houses have given them the confidence to look beyond today, to look forward towards their better futures, with hope, determination, and strong ambitions to be tomorrow’s leaders. They are realistic about the challenges and obstacles that they are going to face along the way. But they feel secure that they have the safety, the comfort, and support of Karam, who will walk with them through those difficult times, and that a good education is their passport to a successful life, wherever that may be.
If you want to witness the strength and resilience of tomorrow’s leaders, look to the students at the Karam Houses who are rising stronger than ever from the ugliness of war, the indignity of displacement, and the badgering from their peers “to go back home.” Home is going to be wherever these future leaders land, thrive, build, and improve the societies that are smart enough to embrace them, give them opportunities, and show them respect. Karam’s programs, team, and community of mentors, along with the environment of the Karam Houses is that first place. I urge others to welcome these students with open arms.
We at Reaching Across Borders (RAB) are honored to partner with Karam Foundation to continue to improve the lives of Syrian refugees.