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Turkish student volunteers bring colours to Marka’s Palestinian refugee camp

By Camille Dupire - Aug 20,2017 - Last updated at Aug 20,2017

A team of 13 Turkish students helped renovate the buildings of Marka’s Palestinian refugee camp in Amman recently (Photo courtesy of TIKA Facebook page)

AMMAN — A group of students from the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) for Jordan has recently concluded a volunteer mission to help renovate the Palestinian refugee camp of Marka in Amman. 

The team of 12 volunteers has visited the Palestinian camp as part of its “2017 Africa Experience Sharing Programme”, running between August 5 and 30, which aims at renovating schools, orphanages, libraries and places of worship, as well as implementing local developmental projects in unprivileged communities of the MENA region.

Along with several Jordanian students, the volunteers have spent ten days renovating buildings and decorating the walls with colourful paintings, the mission organisers said in an e-mail interview with The Jordan Times.

“We have drawn the symbol of the Palestinian resistance ‘Hanzala’, the Palestinian flag, our flag and flowers on the walls,” said Yunus Simsek, a political science student at Fırat University, adding: “We distributed balloons and sweets to the children of the camp and it is their joy that motivated us even more.”

“Jordan is one of the most important countries of the Middle East, and it has been hosting Palestinian refugees who left their countries because of conflicts in 1948 and 1967,” he explained. 

By working in the camp which currently hosts some 53,000 refugees, according to UNRWA’s latest figures,”we have closely observed the problems experienced by the refugees”, the student said.

The team has repainted doors, windows and sidewalks, cleaned up the main avenue of the camp where they have installed garbage cans, streetlights and flowers. 

“I named that avenue ‘Street of Fraternity’ because I believe we built fraternal bridges there,” said Hasan Huseyin Sarki, a medical student studying at Necmettin Erbakan University.

For Muhammed Bayram, a medical student at Trakya University, the programme is a way to “make better and more livable places through on-site aid activities.”

The refugee children from the camp have participated in the various activities “with great enthusiasm”, the students recalled.

TIKA President Serdar Cam said the 2017 Africa Experience Sharing Programme will be running for three years. Some 200 students will participate in this volunteer programme which includes social, cultural and humanitarian activities. 

 

After Jordan, the first team of volunteers left for Sudan, Uganda and Somalia. Others will travel to Tunisia, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Kenya, Senegal, Guinea, Cameroon, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Libya, Algeria and Lebanon, according to TIKA’s website.

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