Alistair is an Australian with a background in the Corporate sector in Australia for many years. He has qualifications in business and the sciences and over the past few years he has worked internationally in Tanzania, Kyrgyzstan and Turkey.
In August 2015 he started volunteering for Caritas in Istanbul and in September went to Lesvos to help with the asylum seekers arrival in Europe. While there he initiated a major food program that delivered as many as 2,500 meals per day. He's partnered with with Save the Children, Oxfam and Medicine Sans Frontier.
Now based in Istanbul his focus is supporting refugees living in the city. With a passion for connecting people Alistair and his network of volunteers are finding where independent volunteers and their contributions make the biggest difference.
Nina was trained as a nurse in Denmark back in 1983. After taking care of a large family of 6 for 22 years, she got a job as team coordinator in a big sports centre in Copenhagen. She has worked there for 7 years.
In September 2015 she travelled to Greece, to help with the refugees arriving in large numbers on the island of Lesvos. Together with a small group of volunteers she managed to cook a proper meal for up to 2500 people everyday for the three weeks she stayed there. In November she returned to Greece, this time spending a few days in Kilkis and Edomeni (at the border to Macedonia) to uncover the needs there. She's now staying in Izmir, working with Refugee Volunteers of Izmir. They are independent volunteers who's main goal is to help refugees staying in Turkey. Refugee Volunteers of Izmir provide these refugees with sustainable solutions; regarding food education, and work.
Shahla Raza is a media and community development professional from India. She has made films on gender and development issues for over 20 years. She founded and runs a learning center, Dhai Akshar, for street and slum children in Mumbai, India. She believes that the refugee crisis is the largest humanitarian crisis of our age and this prompted her to move to Turkey to work on refugee issues.
Before moving to Istanbul, she worked in Antakya (Hatay) at a refugee center and travelled in the area to appraise herself of the situation of refugees there. Since last year, she has been involved in aid work with refugees in Istanbul. She set up a Facebook group to coordinate volunteers in Istanbul, Volunteer in Istanbul. She is also working to set up a website Experience Exile to share stories and films on refugees in Turkey. Currently she is working on setting up an assistance center for refugees in Istanbul, Yusra.
Amber came to Istanbul for an English language teaching certification last year after traveling around Europe and fell in love with the city. Through her travels she was inspired by a new enthusiasm for teaching and the study of languages. Currently, Amber is finishing a degree in English Literature and will pursue a master’s degree in Linguistics at Bogazaci University next year.
Amber is from the U.S., and spent her last ten years in California working with various NGOs. She became involved with the refugee communities in Istanbul shortly after she volunteered in Lesvos, Greece last fall. In her free-time she volunteer teaches high school and university students displaced by the war, and she also works with independent volunteers to provide direct assistance to Syrian families in Istanbul. Amber is passionate about closing the information and education gaps that we see refugees struggle with as they settle in Turkey.
Michele Haus Karahan
Michele, a psychotherapist with a Master’s degree in Social Work, moved to Istanbul from the U.S. in 1996. Her private practice is focused on treatment of traumatic stress, relationship issues, and emotional regulation. Her work with refugees began in 2013 when seeing the need for the organization and distribution of clothing, in Caritas Istanbul, she stepped in to recruit and schedule volunteers for the clothing distribution center.
Michele completed a program with Harvard University, Global Mental Health: Trauma and Recovery and is currently developing psychoeducational programs and conducting support groups for refugee women.
She is committed to the facilitation of meeting refugee’s basic needs through collaboration with grass roots organizations, NGO’s and individual volunteers. Michele believes that through educational support, mental health initiatives, and building bridges with the Turkish community, migrant’s human rights, dignity, and hope will be preserved.