Vefa has become a social service growing in familiarity across Turkey. Originally started one year ago as a government project aimed at boosting employment opportunities for women, since the coronavirus pandemic broke out, it has since evolved into something more.
With the inclusion of police, gendarmerie officers and other social workers, Vefa groups have been reaching out to the elderly and chronically ill confined to homes due to the outbreak.
The Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Services conceived of a pilot project in May 2019 in a bid to address the needs of senior citizens who lacked a next of kin and to offer jobs to women from disadvantage communities. Some 2,000 people, mostly women, were trained to provide home care for the elderly as part of the project and started helping senior citizens at home, delivering their food, conducting medical checks, shopping for their groceries and performing other miscellaneous chores. Over the course of one year, Vefa has reached out to more than 21,000 senior citizens.
When the government imposed a curfew on those 65 and older to help protect the most vulnerable in society, Vefa was called on to help. The group's manpower was boosted by security officers and ministry staff, who now regularly visit senior citizens all across the country.
Since last week, Vefa has gotten in touch with more than 545,000 senior citizens to provide them with personal care and address their needs. Senior citizens can call three hotlines originally reserved for police, gendarmerie and emergency units to help under the circumstances.