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Wothouq e.V. - Women's Community Center Izmir

Izmir, Turkey

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Wothouq e.V. - Women's Community Center Izmir

Izmir, Turkey

Wothouq is a planned community center in Izmir, providing a safe space for female* refugees to access essential support to navigate the various social, cultural, and economic barriers to their social mobility and integration into Turkish society.

Jana Brehm from Wothouq e.V. - Women's Community Center Izmir | 
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About this project

Project origin
We - Wothouq e.V. - are a group of people that have all experienced migration either directly through our own life in exile or through our work as activists. Having been involved in various migration related projects at the EU's external borders, we have directly witnessed the EU-Turkey Agreements' dramatic effect on migrants arriving to Greece. After having conducted various research trips to its counterpart Turkey, we realized that the Agreements' effects have resulted in insufferable living-circumstances of refugees and migrants.

Background information
From March 2016 when the EU-Turkey Agreement came into effect until the end of 2018, approximately 2.4 million asylum seekers have come to Europe, and at the same time (by the end of 2018) there had already been over four million registered persons seeking international protection in Turkey. The Agreement transformed Turkey from being a transit country for refugees on route to Europe to the host of one of the world’s biggest refugee population. Turkey's classification as a safe third country is largely based on its Law on Foreigners and International Protection – Turkeys’ first and only asylum law. The LFIP is a notorious piece of legislation introduced in 2013, which is widely criticised for its numerous legal and procedural shortcomings that fail to satisfy basic needs. 

Besides all the legal and structural gaps, females* are even further marginalised and discriminated against on base of their gender. At the same time, their daily lives are already marked by particular hardship, enormous challenges, and responsibility to sustain their families’ survival and well-being. As a result of lacking basic social, psychological and legal assistance, many of them are denied the tools required to tackle daily life issues and to develop a dignified, secure, and self-determined future.

The project
Together with our network of groups and individuals in Izmir, we have come up with the idea of the project - a Women’s Community Centre - and have jointly developed its concept. The Centre will support women* (relating to any person that identifies as female) and families in overcoming everyday hurdles through regenerating the strength and self-confidence needed for developing perspectives for a self-determined, dignified life. The concept is based on a multi-level approach: Firstly, direct improvement of daily life by enforcing and protecting fundamental rights and enabling women* to exercise these shall be achieved through legal counselling and assistance, psychological and social support. Secondly, starting from the basis thus created, through language and skill trainings, women will gain the tools required to autonomously exercise their rights. This approach will not only strengthen social cohesion but is also necessary for those participating to regain self-confidence as well as to draw strength to cope with their current life-situation and to prospectively regain a better life.

Updated at 18. March 2020