A group of Syrian refugee children work as volunteers to help the elderly in Gaziantep, a southern Turkish city where thousands took shelter after fleeing the civil war in Syria.
Boys and girls between the ages of 11 and 16 are working at the local municipality's community center for the elderly. As part of their volunteer work, the children regularly visit impoverished, elderly citizens and those in need of care.
Some of them offer lonely senior citizens companionship with their conversations while others clean their houses and take of their basic needs. "It is like visiting our grandmother or grandfather. I am happy when they are pleased with our work," 14-year-old Eye Issa says. Issa is among the 150 Syrian children who came together for the "You Are Not Alone" project that caters to needy senior citizens living alone. Salih Açıkgöz, the head of the community center, said their aim is for the Syrian children volunteers to have empathy for older people. "These children suffered much themselves but still they are eager to help these people," he said. Sixty-year-old Fazilet Yüksel is one of the senior citizens the children visit. "I was very happy when they visited me. They went through an ordeal in Syria and were forced to leave their homes. The Turkish nation embraced them and now they embrace us," Mrs. Yüksel said.