Can Eminoğlu | 28 April 2021
Unilever provides support to UNHCR’s global efforts for better hygiene environment in the time of COVID-19.
Following the outbreak of the global coronavirus pandemic, the multinational supplier company donated much-needed hygiene materials to UNHCR to distribute to persons in need of international protection and also to host community members in Turkey. The donation includes 300,000 disinfectants and 150,000 bars of soap.
“We are experiencing a challenging period,”’ tells Azadeh*, a 19-year-old Afghan who lives with her family in Kayseri. “None of us would have thought that the pandemic would have this much of an impact worldwide,” she adds. Azadeh is one of the persons in need of protection who received Unilever-donated items. When her father lost his job, the family did not give up on the preventive measures against COVID-19: “We know that hygiene has the utmost importance in avoiding the virus. With the soap and disinfectants we received, we were able to wash our hands and clean our house frequently. Thanks to this support, we feel more protected in our home.”
In this initiative, UNHCR collaborates with its partners across Turkey for the distribution of disinfectants and soap. One of UNHCR’s local partners, the Afghan Refugees Solidarity Association (ARSA) carries out the needs assessment and makes the material distribution at their office in Kayseri. So far, 1,000 households in Kayseri received the hygiene kit with the support of ARSA.
18-year-old Mina*, who also resides in Kayseri, suffered from coronavirus in late 2020. “It was the fall when I contracted the virus. My family and I spent two weeks in quarantine at home,” she expresses. This has made Mina pay extra attention to wearing a mask everywhere, cleaning her house regularly, and keeping social distance wherever she goes. She often warns her neighbours and friends to be careful and avoid crowds: “With the protective measures, I believe that we can get through this COVID-19 pandemic together.”
Globally, Turkey hosts the largest number of persons in need of international protection, including more than 3.6 million Syrians and close to 320,000 international protection status holders and asylum-seekers of other nationalities. The partnership between Unilever and UNHCR, which comes at a critical time, helps persons in need of protection in playing an active role to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Ali*, who is from Afghanistan and lives with his children, highlights that when each family member spends most of their time at home because of the lockdowns and restrictions, the need for cleaning products increases significantly. At a time when he faces economic instability, Unilever’s donation was quite meaningful. Ali believes the disinfectant and soap provided by Unilever eased the burden on his family in these extremely challenging times: “I felt relief upon receiving the hygiene items as I was facing a lot of financial difficulties.” Upon receiving the items, he informed his acquaintances and friends in need to apply to ARSA to receive the items.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a global health situation that was not experienced before. In this extraordinary time, people forced to flee are particularly exposed. Thanks to the support of Unilever, persons in need of protection received hygiene materials for better sanitary prospects in Turkey. At a time when international solidarity is needed more than ever, Unilever’s timely donation helps the most vulnerable stay safe by enhancing hygiene.
*Names have been changed to protect identity.
Photos are taken during the distribution made by UNHCR’s local partners, the Afghan Refugees Solidarity Association (ARSA) in Kayseri and the Afghanistan’s Hazaras Culture and Solidarity Association in Trabzon.