By Zuhal Demirci
A project to encourage more than 230,000 refugee children to regularly attend school was launched in Ankara on Thursday, the EU Commission said in a statement.
The Conditional Cash Transfer for Education project will provide cash transfers of 35-60 Turkish liras every two months to refugee families, mainly Syrians, whose children regularly attend school.
The project was coordinated in partnership with UNICEF, the Turkish Red Crescent, the Ministry of Family and Social Policies, the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) and the EU Commission.
The opening ceremony was attended by Christos Stylianides, commissioner for humanitarian aid and crisis management, Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya, Turkey's minister of family and social policies, and Afshan Khan, UNICEF’s director of emergency programs.
Turkish Red Crescent head Kerem Kinik and AFAD head Mehmet Halis Bilden were also in attendance.
Speaking at the ceremony, Stylianides said, “I'm proud to announce that we have reached the families of 56,000 refugee children.”
He thanked his partners UNICEF, the Turkish Red Crescent and the Turkish government for sharing the commitment to “make education free for all”.
Khan praised the Turkish government in her speech, saying, “In this period where many countries think of only their own profits, the generosity of Turkey deserves admiration”.
Turkey now hosts some 3 million Syrian refugees, more than any other country in the world. The country has spent around $25 billion helping and sheltering refugees since the beginning of the Syrian civil war.
This number accounts for around 45 percent of all Syrian refugees in the region, the UN said.