Disability-Led Organizations Continue Responding to People with Disabilities in Türkiye and Syria
Since the 7.8 magnitude earthquake devastated parts of Türkiye and Syria, residents have experienced 22,000 additional earthquakes and aftershocks. In the midst of this overwhelming and ongoing crisis, disability led organizations (DLO) continue to work daily to try and meet the needs of adults and children who are displaced from their homes, separated from their disability equipment and supplies, in need of medical services and basic living essentials; even while they, themselves are working to find safe places to convene and continue operations.
They need partners, allies and supporters from around the globe to meet the urgent needs of their community, now more than ever. GADRA’s rapid response Emergency Operations Center selected (7) outstanding disability-led organizations from many applications for assistance. These organizations are in need of resources immediately and in the difficult months ahead. GADRA is conducting a global search to connect them with the resources and support they desperately need to support their community. Please join our efforts to meet the most critical needs of:
People with disabilities being served by these DLOs:
- Durable medical equipment, disability and medical supplies,
- disability related daily living needs,
- accessible transportation, temporary shelters, and permanent housing.
The organizations themselves:
- Safe working and storage locations, replacing destroyed technology and office equipment,
- banking and organizational administration, staffing and case management,
- accessible transportation, shipping and distribution assistance.
Meet the organizations:
Almostakbal Association for the Physically Disabled Persons is a disability-led organization located in Aleppo, Syria, with expertise in rehabilitation and development for people with disabilities, as most of the founders are disabled themselves. Mission and Action: They have first-hand experience and educational background to support people with disabilities. They were providing on-going support, treatment and rehabilitation for people with existing or acquired disabilities as a result of the war, and treatment and prevention guidance for skin ulcers, urinary tract infections, and kidney failure.
Post Disaster: In response to the increased barriers to access the care and basic life necessities, they are assisting more than 1000 people with disabilities, opening two shelter centers and are hoping to provide long term solutions like accessible housing and vocational skills to generate incomes and careers for people with newly acquired disabilities. They are looking for partners to help with:
daily hygiene and self-care items
wheelchairs, crutches, and mobility aids
other medical equipment
The Association of Women with Disabilities (Engelli Kadın Dernegi) is a nationally recognized non-governmental organization in Ankara Türkiye, run by women with disabilities for women with disabilities.
Mission and Action: to inform women with disabilities on the subjects of discrimination, disability rights, gender, violence against women and possible protection mechanisms. They conduct and present research to advance and advocate for women with disabilities.
Post Disaster: They are interested in supporting multiple marginalized groups in accessing equitable recovery responses and consulting with rescue teams on inclusive disaster response. They are not looking for charity. They are looking for partners to help with:
organizational partner support,
training and advocacy in inclusive emergency management
Engelsiz Bileşenler Federasyonu (Federation of Associations for Barrier Free Living) is based in Diyarbakır, Türkiye.
Mission and Action: They are working to gather national and foreign associations under a single mantle of cooperation and coordination; to increase the participation and independence of disabled persons in their communities; to bring about social justice and empower all disabled people to live in rights-based welfare and peace.
Post Disaster: Since the earthquakes, they are continuing their work in disability rights and advocacy while providing tangible help to disabled survivors. They are attempting to set up a repair shop to audit for safety and functionality, and repair damaged equipment. They are looking for partners to help with:
repair, replacement and provision of new disability equipment,
Engelsiz Arsuz Gençlik Ve Spor Kulübü Derneği (Accessible World Federation) is an advocacy DLO in Hatay, Türkiye
Mission and Action: They collaborate with national and international NGOs, preparing and presenting reports on rights of persons with disabilities, elevating their voice and supporting all disabled people in the region.
Post Disaster: In Hatay, 80% of the buildings were heavily damaged or destroyed, including the DLO’s headquarters. They are without office space from which to continue their work and respond to requests for assistance. They are looking for partners to help with:
safe office and storage space, replacement equipment, and personnel
medical supplies and medical care,
psychological and legal support services.
Engelliler ve Gençlik Eğitim Kültür Sağlık Spor ve Yardımlaşma Derneği (Disabled and Youth Education, Culture, Health, Sports, and Solidarity Association) is a rights-based, cross-disability-led organization in Ankara, Türkiye.
Mission and Action: They strive to ensure that all the principles of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) are implemented in Türkiye. The Association conducts monitoring and reporting activities to ensure that places, information, goods, and services are accessible to everyone.
Post-Disaster: Their focus on access and equity continues as they serve displaced survivors in Ankara who were disabled prior to or because of the earthquake. Knowing the risks for disabled people in disasters, they work to defer institutionalization and support independent living and self-determination for disabled survivors. They are looking for partners to help with:
basic food and hygiene needs,
advocacy and legal counseling and psychological support services for survivors and internal personnel.
Türkish Beyazay Association was established by visually impaired students from Boğaziçi University who formed the basis for the Beyazay Working Group which became the Beyazay Association for the Visually Impaired in 1992.
Mission and Action: Their mission is to empower people with disabilities through education, protecting their rights, promoting their social and economic integration, eliminating discrimination, and fostering mutual respect within society. They opened the first computer laboratory for the visual disabilities in Türkiye and partnered with Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality to launch “The Future of Blindness Project,” empowering visually impaired people to live independently through sharing of new developments, ideas, and methods from experts in the United States and educators in Türkiye.
Post Disaster: Türkish Beyazay Association expanded their support to the larger disability community, working collaboratively with others to help people with previously existing and disaster-caused physical and mobility disabilities, both in the community and temporary shelter locations. They are looking for partners to help with:
leg, foot, hand prosthesis, and orthoses for adults with physical disabilities,
hearing aids, durable medical equipment
crutches, canes, and wheelchairs.
ALS-MNH DERNEĞİ was established in December 2001 with 10 people consisting of patients and their relatives, started its activities in an 18m2 container. It continues its activities more strongly and permanently in its new 200m2 building with the help of Mr. Ateş Ünal Erzen, the Mayor of Bakırkö. The number of members of our association has exceeded 1400 as of 2022.
Mission and Action: Their mission is to ensure that ALS MND patients are kept alive by providing a reasonable quality of life within the framework of international human rights, to inform and guide ALS MND patients correctly, and to bring the best possible physical, social, and spiritual condition, to conduct research on the causes and treatments of ALS MND. They aim to support the guidance of ethical rules, to inform the society about ALS MND disease, to provide the necessary medical, technical and social support for the patients. In addition, they aim to represent their country in associations with international participation.
Post Disaster: The earthquake affected a population of 13 million in 11 provinces. The estimated number of ALS patients in the region is around 600. In the first hours after the earthquake, they tried to reach patients and families who had contact information in the registration system of the association by phone and SMS message. After the second earthquake, they had problems in communication due to power cuts and lack of mobile base stations. Their goal in the emergency period was to support 100 ALS patients and their family members. Sixty patients were on ventilators and PEG (Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy). The houses of 10 of our members were destroyed and needed to acquire accessible housing in a guesthouse. We were able to deliver to our members where delivery to the address was not possible, through our Adana volunteers. However, at the end of the first week, with the help of one of our volunteers, generators, oxygen concentrators, clothing, hygiene materials, food, and water were provided. As the communication problem was resolved, we were able to communicate more consistently to deliver medical equipment they desperately needed.
GADRA is reaching out on behalf of these DLOs. With your support, we can ensure that no one is left behind.
To provide assistance to one or all of these organizations actively responding to people with disabilities and their disaster impacted communities, please visit gadra.communityos.org. Once there, you may select the button to give as a Corporate or Foundation Funder. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions. We look forward to partnering with you.