Giving a Voice to Those Silenced by War

A young Syrian refugee uses a hearing aid for the first time. Rachel Elkind/RI

Giving a Voice to Those Silenced by War

Turkey hosts the world’s largest number of refugees, the majority of whom have escaped war-torn Syria. Relief International supports them through specialized healthcare programs. For some, the conflict has left them with brain injuries and they’re having to learn to speak again. Our trained speech therapists help give them back their voice.

In 2014, Turkey became the country hosting the world’s largest number of refugees. More than 3.6 million of an estimated 4 million refugees that have sought safe haven in Turkey are from neighboring war-torn Syria. We support these vulnerable refugees with specialized healthcare programs.

Speech therapy is just one of the specialized services we offer to people who are experiencing language disorders. In 2018, our trained speech therapists provided therapy sessions to 441 people.

Sessions include speech therapists and patients working together to overcome a variety of problems. These include trouble with articulation, such as making erroneous sounds or not speaking clearly, fluency issues with flow of speech and stuttering, and resonance or voice pitch problems.

There are two key groups of patients that our speech therapists see. The first are children born with innate speech conditions. For some, this is caused by hearing loss. In these cases, we provide hearing aid devices and speech therapy sessions to make up for loss of language development.

The second group of patients are children and adults whose language and speech processing part of their brain has been injured. These patients are relearning speech that they have lost after brain trauma. Through this program, refugees can gain their voices again.

Relief International provided 1,239 speech therapy sessions so far in 2019 and fitted 50 hearing aids for people in need.

These efforts are funded by European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration.

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  • sector_icons_healthcare_blk.png Health and Nutrition