Growing cucumbers eases life in the refugee camp

“The project has had a big psychological effect on me.” Syrian refugees share how working in the field makes life in the camp easier.

Kerstin Bandsom

Team Communications

It’s 4am and still dark. But the men and women gathering at the entrance of a refugee camp in Mardin province in Southeastern Turkey are in a good mood. They are about to go to the nearby fields: to harvest cucumbers. As part of a project funded by the

German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development

, Welthungerhilfe has rented agricultural land for Syrian refugees. Each of the 53 participating families can cultivate 5,000 square metres of land.

Earning An Income And Improving Mental Health

With the support of agricultural experts, the families plant and harvest a special cucumber variety that looks like a pale version of a normal cucumber, which is called “Trozi” in Turkish and “etteh” in Arabic. In the province of Mardin, green vegetables are available for the equivalent of 0.26 to 0.50 euros. On an average day, the families earn between 70 and 100 Turkish Lira (12 bis 18 Euro). The displaced people have the chance to earn an income. Even if the income is not always sufficient, as Ahmad Taleb complains: “Some might not have enough money to start their own business after this project ends. There are not enough job opportunities in this area.

Harvested cucumbers in a field in Mardin, Turkey. © Stephanie Binder/Welthungerhilfe

Ahmad, 64, has fled Hama, his daughter died in the war. When his house was destroyed, he fled to Turkey. In the project of the Welthungerhilfe he found a new task. As mukther, community representative, to new arrivals in the camp he explains how they can participate in the project and register. For Ahmad, the cucumber project is not only about earing own income, it also offers a break from the monotonous life in the refugee camp.

Refugees About The Project

Welthungerhilfe and its partners support people in Syria, Turkey and Lebanon. The work is coordinated by the country office in Gaziantep, Turkey. The war in Syria has been ongoing since 2011. Several million people had to flee and are dependent on aid. Welthungerhilfe and its partners provide emergency relief and try to create future prospects.

How Welthungerhilfe Helps In Turkey

Around 2300 Syrians living in refugee camps are provided with land where they can plant vegetables and fruit for their own consumption and for sale.

Around 2500 Syrians participate in awareness sessions about healthy eating.

53 Syrian families are provided with 5000 square metres of land each where they can plant, harvest and sell cucumbers.

Welthungerhilfe is building greenhouses in two refugee camps in South-Eastern Turkey where Syrian families will plant vegetables and fruit for their own consumption and for sale.

In one of the greenhouses Syrian families will plant olive tree seedlings and sell them.

Welthungerhilfe is building a small greenhouse next to a school in one of the camps where children can learn more about plants and agriculture.

Your donation works

Your donation will be used according to the principle of “help to self help”: Help people free themselves from hunger and poverty.

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