The İzmit Municipality will soon launch its "Damascus Cuisine Project" which aims to teach Syrian refugees how to make and sell traditional Middle Eastern cuisine. The project will employ Syrian women as instructors and provide them with an income to help support their family. In İzmit, where many Syrian refugees have taken shelter, the municipality has already launched various projects to help Syrian refugees make a livelihood and ease their assimilation into Turkish society. Previously, the İzmit Municipality started a Turkish language course for Syrian women.The municipality's latest project aims to send food prepared by refugees to factories, markets and restaurants in Kocaeli. Speaking to an Anadolu Agency (AA) reporter, Mayor Nevzat Doğan said his city has opened its arms to Syrian refugees who had to flee from their homes because of the war. He said the city is trying to help them as much as it can.
İzmit hosts nearly 2,000 Syrian refugees. The municipal
ity offers special programs designed to help refugees adapt to Turkey and also provides Syrians with free vocational courses. "Our efforts to teach Turkish to Syrian women are continuing at full speed. Our culinary school will be open soon. Following the course, we will help Syrian women find opportunities to sell their food and connect them with companies interested in employing refugees. Moreover, the Small and Medium Industry Development Organization is also supporting our project," said Mayor Doğan.
The culinary school will begin as soon as the one-month Turkish language course ends. "We want them to socialize," said Doğan. "We will eat delicious food thanks to them. Syrian women will be happier and more satisfied," added Doğan.One of the trainees, Necla Halfa, came to İzmit from Damascus two years ago. However, her mother and siblings remained in Syria and are living under very difficult circumstances. She said she can speak Turkish; however, she does not know how to write Turkish yet. "Our training is going well. I am learning how to read and write in Turkish. I can talk to all my neighbors. Following the language course a culinary school will open for Syrians. I want to contribute to my family income by learning how to cook and sell food," Halfa said to an AA reporter.
Merah Alcareh, a 23-year-old mother of two, said she cooks amazing food and said, "I will attend the culinary school as soon as I learn how to read and write in Turkish." She also thanked Mayor Doğan for giving them these opportunities.