Supporting my Community
Our February Perspectives Post is dedicated to those impacted by the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria. It is written by Fatos Akbay, an extraodinary woman and a client I have worked with for six years:
Tragedies are always very sad and touch us when we hear and learn about them. Often they create a deep urge of wanting to help, sometimes even mixed with a feeling of guilt for being lucky enough not to be in that tragedy directly. Some of us do take action and donate money and help in a way we hope will make some difference for the better, butoften we have no idea what direct help those people really received from the donations we made. In any case, for most of us it’s a sad news story and then we quickly move on to the next urgent matter. We have to, that's what survival necessitates. I have been through this same experience many times myself. But not this time. This story is different. This time it is my hometown, my people, my family, friends, my community, my history, my culture, my childhood. This time it is Antakya, alongside many other towns in Turkey and Syria who are going through this tragedy. I cannot move on.
The photographs were taken by my cousin, Didem, who lives in Izmir and was not in Antakya during the earthquake. Like many others, unable to hear from some of her relatives and with no official help, she made her way to Antakya in search of her aunt and family. After five days and nights amidst the rubble, with the picture of her aunt and husband smiling at them throughout, they were unable to save any member of that family.
There are a great many charities trying to help all those affected in a number of ways, and that's fantastic. As for me, I would like to target my own community, to people I know personally and hold very dearly; to the people who are calling me and my family to ask for urgent financial help, thanks to the unique culture and trust this community has built over the centuries. A lot of them have fled the area with nothing on them and are struggling to survive in these places until the help from charities or the government arrives.
Chances are one of your ancestors walked past this piece of land and contributed to this culture. If your history touches Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Romans, the Silk Road, you will have something to do with Antiochia (Antakya): https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antakya
I am truly sorry if you haven't had a chance to visit our region so far as unfortunately it is too late now. It has been destroyed completely, along with tens of thousands of people, if not hundreds. As for the remaining ones, they need our help. They need our help to give them a chance to live and create this amazing place once more. Earthquakes have devastated Antakya / Antiochia 7 times throughout history, and its people loved it enough to rebuild it each time. This 8th earthquake won't be any different, if only they can survive this desperate time. And for that they need our help now. Many thanks for your generosity and trust. Here is the Crowdfunding page: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/antioch
Fatos D. Akbay
We are also very aware of those impacted in Syria. Women for Women International helps women survivors of war rebuild their lives. WfWI is raising funds to meet the immediate critical needs of those in Syria who are severely affected by the earthquake: https://womenforwomen.org.uk