© E. Gürel / UNHCR
This is the story of Barat, who escaped war in Afghanistan and -with an unexpected health issue- ended up with a struggle of his own in Turkey. Barat, who is now 24, was living a peaceful life with his family and newlywed wife in a small village, working as a shepherd. To avoid forced recruitment, he had no choice but to flee and sought refuge in Turkey after 37 days of journey from the north of Afghanistan. Barat says he knows he would not be able to join the forces and survive, so when the forces came to his village, he knew he had to run.
When he first came to Turkey one year ago, he was happy to be free from the oppression and also free from being forced to fight. However, in September 2016, he suddenly collapsed, was hospitalized and diagnosed with leukaemia. He was then really forced to fight, this time a battle of his own and one that he would eventually overcome.
Barat has now completed his chemotherapy sessions. He is grateful for the early diagnosis and the doctors are pleased with the positive results. UNHCR has been helping him by providing financial support for additional costs related to his treatment, covering his accommodation in a hotel and living expenses, as he is unable to work and needs to maintain certain hygiene standards for health reasons.
Upon advice from fellow asylum seekers, Barat approached UNHCR’s partner Human Resources Development Foundation (HRDF – İnsan Kaynağını Geliştirme Vakfı – İKGV) who has been supporting him with psycho-social support.
Currently, there are over 315,000 non-Syrian asylum seekers and refugees who are registered with UNHCR Turkey. With the generous support received from the European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid – ECHO (European Commission – Civil Protection & Humanitarian Aid Operations – ECHO), UNHCR is able to address the specific protection needs of the most vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers, such as Barat. The Turkish legislation allows access to comprehensive national health care services for all refugees and asylum seekers. UNHCR is grateful to Turkey for the systems put in place for the well-being of all persons of concern.