By Caroline Haga, IFRC

”Back in Syria we owned a home and some barber shops. I don’t know if anything is left of them now,” a Syrian wife and mother says with tears in her eyes. 

Her name is Hacer Sino, 31, and together with her husband Sukri Davud, 39, and three children she fled her hometown Aleppo more than three years ago.

“Before we left, already three bombs had struck our neighbourhood. We had to flee.”

Sino is grateful that they made their way safely to Istanbul in Turkey where the family has now built a new home. Her husband has been lucky enough to continue his work as a barber and her eldest children are going to school.

Sino herself is happy to have found the Turkish Red Crescent community centre in her neighbourhood which has allowed her to embark on a training to become a professional hairdresser.

“Some of my relatives said ‘let’s go to the centre and register’. I really liked what they offered so I enrolled and I think the course is very good,” explains Sino who has completed almost half of the seven month vocational training.

“I dream of opening my own hair salon so that I can help my husband support our family and make sure that we can afford sending also our youngest daughter Selva, 6, to school.”

Big dreams for the future

Sino is very proud of how well her eldest children – 12-year-old daughter Evin and ten-year-old son Roni – are doing in school. When Evin was enrolled in the first grade the teacher quickly noticed how well she read and wrote so she was transferred directly to higher grades and has continued to excel. Roni too is thriving and has been voted the president of his class. As for little Selva, she joins her mother at the community centre’s child-friendly space and already speaks the most Turkish of the whole family.

When asked what her children’s dreams are for the future, Sino laughingly explains:

“Evin wants so many things to be able to help our family. Right now, she wants to be a YouTube phenomenon and earn a lot of money to support us.”

“I don’t think Roni knows what he wants yet but he reads a lot and also helps his father every chance he’s got in the evenings.”

As for Hacer Sino and her husband, they hope to be able to return home one day if the war ends. Until then, they’ll continue working and studying hard to support their new life in Istanbul.

“I really enjoy coming to this course and keeping busy. I’ll definitely complete it so that I can receive the professional certificate and hopefully realise my dream,” Sino concludes.

The Turkish Red Crescent Bağcılar community centre was established with the financial support from the EU’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO).