Set Them Free is a civil initiative founded to stand up for the rights of the arbitrarily imprisoned mothers, babies and women victims of Turkey Purge. It raises awareness on the violation of women’s rights in prisons such as denial of right to health services and right to access legal services.
Apart from advocating for the rights of arbitrarily imprisoned women and children in Turkey, Set Them Free organizes online ESL and German language classes to assist refugee women in their resettlements. Most of the refugee women in our network is in their transition phase waiting for their family reunification applications to be approved in USA or Germany.
As a part of our efforts to assist refugee women and children, Set Them Free launched “Sisters Without Borders” program. The group of volunteers have been actively working with Turkish refugee women and children who are recovering from the trauma of being unjustly detained, imprisoned, separated from their family, children, or the beloved ones.
Sisters Without Borders has two main projects for women and children refugees in Greece. First, we started with the Personal Development Discussion Series to provide psychological support and then English and German Language Classes were initiated for the better integration of Turkish women and children refugees. It is important to note that since the beginning, we have been personally in touch with the families in need in order to understand what they needed the most.
We have been in touch with the refugees one on one and then launched these two projects. The outcome of our network showed that being displaced people from their homelands, they needed psychological support and ESL lessons to integrate better to their new communities.
English and German Language Classes Set Them Free and Respect Graduate School have partnered to start an online English and German classes for refugees in 2018. The program started with several English classes for women and one Germany session. However, now we have 10 online classes with over 150 students. A total of 234 students including women and children graduated in 2018 and 2019. Set Them Free organized a graduation ceremony in Greece and students received their certificates at the ceremony.
We formed the classes based on participants` age and language proficiency level. Each course is 6 months with two sessions every week. The main goal of the online language training is to prepare the refugees for their relocations in different countries. The classes help them to integrate with the new cultures that they live in. Later, we also started several classes for children refugees as well.
Apart from the online classes, we have also mobilized our network of volunteers to be conversation partners. They meet over phone for several times during the week, do some homework together and practice their speaking skills. We do match the refugees with relevant conversation partners matching their professional background so they have can also have some interesting discussions, share their work-related experiences and learn more about how they can do their professions in the countries which they are looking forward to resettling. Now we have hundreds of conversation partners all mostly in USA and around the Europe.
Since we have started the project, we are able to witness ourselves how the project is uplifting the hopes of refugee women and children. The psychological and the mental health of the refugees are important factors for their social and cultural empowerment. As their language proficiency increases, it becomes easier to interact and communicate for the refugees in their local communities and start a new life.
Overall, the project which we wanted to share as a best practice became a source of motivation, enabled women and children to focus and set new goals in their lives. As time passes, the outcomes and feedbacks of the participants revealed that there is a notable increase in the successful integration stories, better communications among family members, and necessary skills to conduct daily life tasks in hospitals, schools, markets etc.
Student Pictures from the Zoom Online Classroom
Pictures from the Graduation Ceremony
Set Them Free is a civil initiative founded to stand up for the rights of the arbitrarily imprisoned mothers, babies and women victims of Turkey Purge. It raises awareness of the violation of women’s rights in prisons such as denial of right to health services and right to access legal services. Apart from advocating for the rights of arbitrarily imprisoned women and children in Turkey, Set Them Free organizes online ESL and German language classes to assist refugee women in their resettlements. Most of the refugee women in our network are in their transition phase waiting for their family reunification applications to be approved in the USA or Germany.