CCTE Programme Helping Safaa Family to Keep Their Dreams Alive
Ali attends school thanks to the Conditional Cash Transfer for Education (CCTE) programme with his father’s support
When we met the Safa family at the Turkish Red Crescent Community Centre in Mardin, the father, Bassam, introduced us to his sons Ali, 11, and Amir, 5, “I have 4 boys, Hussein and Mohammad couldn’t join us today, they wanted to stay with their mother. Amir is very fond of Ali and that is why he wanted to come with his brother today.”
The Safa family arrived to Turkey two years ago, “it was very hard for me at the beginning, we left our country, our house and we came here not knowing what to expect. One of my first goals was to find schools for my boys,” Bassam explained. Yet, due to financial constraints the children couldn’t go to school. “One day, I was talking to one of my neighbours about the situation of my children and how its very hard to afford sending three of them to school because of our very limited income. He told me that there was a financial assistance programme to help refugee families to send their children to school,” Bassam continued. After the family knew about the Conditional Cash Transfer for Education (CCTE) programme, they visited the Community Center of Turkish Red Crescent in Mardin to have additional information in order to benefit from CCTE. Learning about the programme was good news for the family as any support for children’s education would be very much of a support for the family. Following this visit they decided to enrol Ali, Hussien, 9, Mohammad, 7, in school. “I still remember the first day I went to school, I was very excited and little anxious. I remember my father telling me that he knows that I will make him proud, and that gave me a lot of motivation,” Ali told us.
The CCTE programme aims to encourage school enrolment and improve school attendance of Syrian and other refugee children. It also includes a child protection component that ensures that the most vulnerable refugee children are identified and supported in accessing services as required. The CCTE is a national social assistance programme which has been implemented by the Ministry Family, Labour and Social Services since 2003. In early 2017 it was extended to Syrian and other refugee families and is being implemented through a close partnership between the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Services, the Ministry of National Education, the Turkish Red Crescent and UNICEF. The extension of the programme has been made possible by the generous financial support of the European Union (EU) and is also supported by the Governments of Norway and the United States of America.
Later on, during the school year, Ali could not go to school for 1 week because he wasn’t feeling well. A child protection worker from the Turkish Red Crescent (TRC) team visited Ali’s home to check on him as part of the child protection services offered by the CCTE Programme. When children benefiting from the CCTE programme fail to attend school for more than four days in any month without providing documented justification, a child protection worker visits the household to see if the child’s family need any help and refers the family to the relevant services, so the child can continue going to school regularly and avoid an interruption of the CCTE payments. Following the house visit Ali was referred by the child protection team to a health institution so he could receive the needed medical assistance. Bassam remembers, “my son was in pain, and I didn’t know what to do, I wanted to take him to best hospital, but our financial situation is really tight. Thanks to this referral we received the needed medical treatment and my son got better and he started going back to school.”
Bassam continues, “we are grateful for these programmes. Children always have needs and we appreciate every bit of support. Their attendance to school is a big priority for us. We want them to receive education and build their own future especially during such difficult times we are living in.”
When we asked Ali what he wanted to say at the end of the interview, he said, “I am grateful for this opportunity, I feel like in a way I am contributing to my family and I am not adding extra burden on my father. I know he had a lot of dreams when he was a child, but he was never able to realize them because of his family economic situation. He doesn’t want that to happen to me, and because of that I will do my best to make him proud and continue what he started.”