Atheist Refugee Assistance Program, Turkey -2022-

 
 
 
Turkey shelters the greatest number of refugees on the planet, numbering into 8+ millions. Many thousands of these refugees were forced into exile for merely renouncing Islam and choosing a different path. Recent efforts by the Atheist Support Network of Atheist Alliance International and the Center for Inquiry’s Secular Rescue program have inspired Ateizm Dernegi, the leading secular organization in Turkey, to take a more proactive role in providing vital assistance to atheist asylum-seekers inside our country.
 
Ateizm Dernegi, a nonprofit and NGO with nearly 400 members and supporters, operates the Atheist Refugee Assistance Program (ARAP), which provides much needed services to atheist refugees in Turkey. Our primary focus is on asylum seekers who have escaped persecution elsewhere. ARAP’s program mandate is to help this secular minority to start new lives with safety and security. Our main areas of assistance include accommodation and employment solutions, legal aid, support letters, and financial guidance.
 
But we cannot do this important work alone. We need you.
 
Because of language and cultural barriers, most refugees and asylum seekers in Turkey have great difficulty finding safe places to live or connecting with like-minded roommates, and their secularism often means discrimination when it comes to employment opportunities. Finding suitable living and working conditions is extremely difficult for free-thinking, openly secular infidels in today’s pro-Islamic Turkey. Atheist asylum seekers are highly discriminated by the Turkish immigration officers. Sometimes one needs to try going to multiple immigration offices in different cities so that her/his application can be submitted to be processed. Such challenges are numerous and unique, but we will not shy away simply because the work is hard. Indeed, this is the reason for the ARAP program’s existence.
 
But ARAP cannot be an island; we need your support. We are asking your donations to help us expand our reach and provide essential services to those who have nowhere else to turn in Turkey.
 
Transparency and professionalism are at the heart of ARAP’s model. ARAP Turkey team publishes weekly agendas, biweekly progress reports, quarterly financial reports and annual reports to the partners of this program; Atheist Alliance International, Center for Inquiry, ExMuslims of North America, and Ateizm Dernegi.
 
 
 
With your help, we have created a fund to provide much needed services for legal aid and assistance to atheist asylum seekers and refugees who are currently in Turkey. This fund is to pay for the salaries of the two ‘’Atheist Refugee Assistance Program’’ (ARAP) case managers. Our staff is responsible for assisting the most common refugee needs. Our case managers speak Arabic, Persian, Turkish and English.
 
Who can apply for ARAP:
ARAP is aimed to help to the refugees currently living in Turkey. Only asylum seekers and refugees who can provide the required immigration document which states that they are nonbelievers can benefit from the program.
 
What we don’t provide:
Unfortunately, within the scope of this program, it is NOT POSSIBLE to provide any financial support.
 
Areas of assistance:
1. ACCOMODATION
Help finding a place to live or a roommate to live with for atheist asylum seekers and refugees. Helping applicants to scan ads on online platforms, translating the necessary documents, guiding and following the application process.
2. JOBS
Help finding jobs for the atheist asylum seekers and refugees in Turkey. Translating the applicants’ resumes (curriculum vitae) into Turkish, preparing templates for applicants to apply for jobs, and guiding them through the process to obtain interviews.
3. LEGAL HELP
Accepting applications from atheist asylum seekers and refugees for legal aid. After investigating and confirming the authenticity of the inquiries, AD proceeds with the legal process, and provides legal services through pro bono lawyers.
4. REQUIRED LETTERS
Letter of recommendation to the Turkish immigration division or UNHCR on behalf of the asylum seekers and refugees about their claim. Additional verification may be required from a valid secondary source in the subject country to verify the authenticity of the applicant’s request.
5. GUIDANCE
Assisting the applicants to prepare the documents seeking sponsorships, grants, and scholarships to apply to national and international organizations, funds, institutions, associations, secular, humanist, and atheist charities.
 
ARAP was launched in August 2020. Since then, ARAP has provided accommodation solutions to 10 cases, found jobs to 5 cases, provided legal help to 12 cases, and issued letters of support for 7 cases, and provided financial guidance to 13 cases.  ARAP offers free workshops in Self-Defense, Basic Turkish Language Skills, Job Search & Interview Coaching,  Refugee & Atheist Rights.   ‘’ARAP S.O.S. Voice Mail Center’’ was launched which is for the asylum seekers under detention and urgent cases who wish to contact us by phone and leave a voice message in Arabic, Persian, Turkish or English. Another update in 2021 is that the official ARAP website “www.atheistrefugeesturkey .com’’ is up and running in 4 languages.
 
Your donations are needed and very much appreciated.
 
 
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Organizer

Onur Romano 
Organizer
Victoria, BC