Guiding Healing Journeys Post Disaster - Building Markets

Guiding Healing Journeys Post Disaster

by Nawar Maarri
October 23, 2023

After the devastating earthquake that struck Türkiye on February 6, many businesses and organizations struggled to support their employees and the community. With the help of Building Markets’ mentorship, training, and a special partnership with GiveDirectly this summer, small businesses like the Ada Center are providing crucial community services.

Despite being personally affected by the earthquake, the team at the Ada Center, Center for Mental Health Research in Gaziantep, Türkiye, demonstrated a remarkable commitment to supporting their community. While the earthquake disrupted their operations and caused severe damage to many of their employees’ homes, they remained dedicated to providing essential mental health services.

Abdel-Razzaq, a specialist in psychological guidance and the owner of the Ada Center, leads a team of doctors and specialists who provide consultations and psychological counseling in Syria, with a branch in Gaziantep, Türkiye. Although the earthquake made it impossible for the team to provide face-to-face consultations, they continued providing online psychotherapy to individuals in Syria who could benefit from their services.

In Türkiye, where the earthquake left many with a sense of panic and confusion, the team volunteered to provide phone consultations to individuals experiencing panic attacks and other emotions from the trauma. They answered every call, offered reassurance and guidance, and provided comfort to people who were frightened and unsure about what to do. 

Their dedication paid off, with the team providing online psychological support to a total of 200 people during this difficult time.

Abdel-Razzaq, shared his experience, saying, “We slept for days in the cars, mosques, and shelters, just like many other people. But despite our own personal losses, our team remained committed to providing essential mental health services to our community.”

In addition to their ongoing efforts, the Ada Center presented 15 scientific subjects through their advisory body team via bulletins, interviews, and articles on psychological awareness during this stage of the earthquake response.

At the same time, Abdel-Razzaq knew he needed help too. He had hired new employees to help meet the demand, but his business would need an influx of cash to continue operating at this increased capacity and repair the damage to the office. Already involved with Building Markets, meeting regularly with his mentor, Alshami, and participating in finance training over the last few months, Abdel-Razzaq was a perfect candidate for a cash grant through Building Markets’ partnership with GiveDirectly. This $1,000 grant has allowed him to keep his business afloat, so he could continue to help meet the growing needs of his community.

And they are now studying a project with one of the associations in Mardin to help the victims of the earthquake – approximately 250 families from Şanlıurfa, Gaziantep, and Mardin. They are also planning to implement a project to help children and their families overcome the effects of the earthquake disaster.

“Participating in administrative and financial mentoring and training during the earthquake period had a profound and beneficial influence, both in terms of morale and logistics. I actively engaged in a grant program valued at 18 thousand liras, gaining valuable insights and acquiring effective risk management skills through one of Building Markets’ programs. I am immensely thankful for this opportunity, which has significantly enhanced my proficiency in the realms of administration and finance. The guidance pertaining to financial and administrative matters has had a remarkably positive impact on our business,” Abdel-Razzaq, owner of the Ada Center.

Through their actions, the Ada Center’s team has demonstrated that even in the midst of a crisis, it is possible to offer support, comfort, and hope.

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