“The grant was a lifeline, ” says Emine from southern Türkiye as she recovers her business after the earthquake

Published: Mar 5, 2024 Reading time: 2 minutes
Woman preparing food.
© Foto: Muhammet Necip Şağar

It has been more than a year since the earthquakes hit Türkiye and Syria, and with each day, more stories emerge, portraying the impact of the disaster that wiped out not just buildings but dreams and stories, too.

"It took 20 days before I could even look at my shop. Our immediate concern was rescuing relatives and mourning our losses," says Emine Çelik, a 46-year-old local entrepreneur and sandwich shop owner in Adiyaman in southern Türkiye. “We lost everything. We were grappling with the lack of basic necessities such as food, water, and electricity, which had kept us warm through the cold weather,” she continues, elaborating on the immediate challenges they faced in the earthquake's aftermath.

Emine's world turned upside down when she realised she had lost her livelihood. She found her sandwich shop in ruins, with nothing salvageable but the tables she now uses in her temporary container-based shop. Additionally, Emine's home became a shelter for around 20 people, including relatives and friends who were left homeless, all huddling together in a modest one-bedroom apartment. "We hosted 20 people: close relatives, family, and friends who lost their homes,” she recounts.

The earthquake’s impact extended beyond the physical destruction. Emine's son, a first-year art college student with exceptional painting talent, was forced to suspend his studies due to financial constraints that followed the disaster and economic downturn.

Solidarity is the key to recovery

A year after the earthquake, Emine continues to support her family of four under constrained circumstances, with her former guests having moved to container housing. Nevertheless, Emine remains undeterred and hopeful. "Despite the sorrows and challenges, my outlook is positive. I'm a strong woman, and I will do whatever it takes to support my family and achieve our dreams," she elaborates.

She has her eyes set on her family's and business's future. Emine dreams of rebuilding her sandwich shop and expanding into a chain with multiple locations, each featuring her son’s artwork. With the support of People in Need, thanks to funding from Doosan Bobcat, she took the first steps towards recovery. “The grant was like medicine for me, a lifeline. It allowed me to purchase the necessary equipment and tools for my shop and the materials needed to make sandwiches. I was able to stand on my feet again,she reflects.

Thanks to Doosan Bobcat funding, we are supporting affected businesses in Türkiye with cash grants to aid in the recovery of local businesses. "Money is a necessity, but solidarity is the key to recovery," states Emine, emphasising the collective effort needed for recovery, continuing, “ the community should stand with and support each other to build our cities and stand on our feet again.

Autor: Muhammet Necip Şağar, PIN's Communication Manager for Northwest Syria and Türkiye

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