Goodwill Ambassador Tuba Büyüküstün visits children near Syrian border
Turkey, 4 June 2014 - “Lamis, Lamis Lamis!” children shouted as
Turkish actress and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Tuba Büyüküstün arrived
at the school. “Her name is Tuba!” a women tried but a child insisted;
“I see her on TV all the time and her name is Lamis!”
Hundreds of children and parents gathered for the opening ceremony of
UNICEF’s new school. Tuba was overwhelmed. For a first mission with
UNICEF, she had a busy day, full of emotions.
Tuba Büyüküstün meets with Syrian children at Child Friendly Space in Öncüpınar Camp in Kilis - UNICEF Turkey / Yurtsever / 2014
It started in Kilis camp for Syrian refugees, just kilometers away from
Turkey’s border with Syria. Children welcomed her at the UNICEF
supported child friendly space. They were learning how to recycle paper.
She joined them.
Muhannad, 15, stood in a corner. He usually spends time at the Child
Friendly Space, helping younger children with their activities. “She is
very well-known and girls like her a lot,” he said. For a few minutes,
he tried to look careless then rushed to have his photo taken with her.
“It’s so nice of her to come put a smile on children’s faces”. He was
As the Goodwill Ambassador continued her tour at the camp, Ayat, 2, and
her mother watched from their window. “It’s very important to let
celebrities see our living conditions. Let them tell the world what they
see,” said the mother.
The word spread around, a group of refugees gathered to meet the star.
She is with a family, in their container. The crowd got excited when the
door opened. At the doorstep, a child was holding the only leg his mom
Tuba looked voiceless but managed to get her smile back for a last
photo. She just heard to the women’s story, a story like many others
from Syria. War, blood, hunger, displacement and a leg left behind
before ending up in this camp.
Later in the day, a few kilometers away, other Syrian refugees gathered
at the opening ceremony of the first UNICEF school outside the camps.
“This is my first mission with UNICEF and I’m glad to join this
ceremony,” Tuba addressed the crowd. “80 percent of Syrian refugees do
not live in camps and most of their children had no access to education.
I am proud and supportive of UNICEF’s response. I call everyone to step
forward and help us bring children back to school and bring them back
Standing at the last row, Abu Hamza looked chic in his grey suit, of his
hair’s color. He taught for more than two decades in Syria and is
volunteering to teach here. “I know she’s the VIP,” he said. “But she
came to us, to our children. It means we are also important enough.”