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Hasna's Journey Through Loss and Legal Labyrinths

After the tragic loss of her husband in the 2023 earthquake, Syrian refugee Hasna faced the daunting task of rebuilding her life in Gaziantep, Türkiye. Amidst grief and displacement, she navigated legal hurdles to secure her daughters' education and their future.

Posted on 18 Mar 2024

In the quiet before dawn on February 6, 2023, Hasna, a Syrian refugee living in Gaziantep, Türkiye, faced a devastating earthquake that tore her life apart. The disaster claimed the life of her husband, leaving her and her daughters to navigate a future filled with uncertainty and grief.

"My heart was broken. I lost my properties and my husband in one day," Hasna recounts, her voice echoing the depth of her loss. 

In search of comfort, Hasna moved with her daughters to her parents' home in Kahramanmaraş, facing the monumental task of rebuilding her life from the ruins. The disaster's immediate aftermath saw a temporary lift on travel restrictions for Temporary Protection ID card (TPID) holders, a small reprieve amid the chaos. 

As Hasna grappled with her new reality, she encountered another hurdle: the need to enroll her daughters in school. Hindered by bureaucratic barriers related to their TPID registration and her unemployment status, she faced the stark possibility of homelessness.

"I did not have any income and my house was destroyed," she shared, highlighting the precariousness of their situation. 

My heart was broken. I lost my properties and my husband in one day

/  Hasna

The threat of deportation loomed over them, tied to their residency status in a city where their IDs were not registered. It was during this period of uncertainty that Hasna discovered the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) and its legal assistance project.

This initiative provides refugees and host community members with legal counseling, information about their rights under Turkish law, and support through the complexities of legal documentation. 

With DRC's support, Hasna embarked on the arduous process of updating her marital status and transferring her civil registry to Kahramanmaraş.

"My husband used to take care of everything, so I did not know the procedures," she explained, shedding light on the additional challenges faced by those who suddenly find themselves navigating life alone. 

"I cannot express how I felt that day," Hasna reflects on the moment her, and her daughters' documents were finally sorted, marking the end of a year-long struggle.

The sense of relief and accomplishment was overwhelming, made possible by the DRC's intervention, which enabled her daughters to return to school and Hasna to regain a sense of independence and strength. 

Hasna's experience reiterates the importance and value of support systems, and the crucial role of life-changing assistance. "I learned so much from this experience," she states.

"I realise now how important it is for women to rely on themselves because life must go on no matter what." 

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