Team International for Assistance for Integration Community Centre (TIAFI) is a non-governmental organization founded in 2017 that supports both the refugee and Turkish populations of Izmir with donations from international foundations and private individuals. Since its inception, TIAFI has supplemented the efforts of regional stakeholders by providing integration and social services to both members of the refugee community and impoverished Turkish people in Izmir.
Eager to welcome everyone, regardless of nationality, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or gender. In order to assist individuals and families, TIAFI offers a number of programmes including a free lunch service, exercise, and movement therapy consultations, legal aid, social and medical service referrals, and information, and women's and youth development activities. These programmes are facilitated by a small full-time staff who are mostly refugees themselves and a fluctuating number of local and international volunteers.
Increasing economic pressures have led to a rise in discrimination and prejudice from all areas of the Turkish host community and are causing refugees to avoid contact with Turkish people, including authoritative bodies due to a fear of discriminatory treatment. This results in a deficiency in the exchange of information: refugees do not fully learn their rights, benefits, and duties from the government and the government does not receive accurate reporting of abuses and violations of the law against the refugee community. This rising tension between the communities means that in addition to these services, efforts to include our Turkish neighbors are paramount.
The economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have lead to a sharp rise in unemployment throughout the city and consequently, there has been a significant increase in the number of Turkish people requesting emergency food aid in particular. While we do our best to meet the immediate needs of our beneficiaries, our ultimate goal which is increasingly difficult is to aid the now long-term Syrian residents of Izmir to integrate into and gain some level of acceptance in the local population.