February 7, 2023

SPARK’s Statement on Earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria

© Sezgin Pancar - Anadolu Agency

SPARK is deeply saddened by the earthquakes devastating lives, businesses, buildings and infrastructure throughout regions of Türkiye, Syria, as well as Iraq and Lebanon. Our thoughts are with the families who have lost their loved ones, livelihoods and homes.

Since 2015, SPARK’s Gaziantep team has been working with 25 partner organisations and supporting Turkish and Syrian communities throughout the southern region of Türkiye and northern region of Syria to access higher education, build startup businesses and grow small and medium-enterprises. It is heartbreaking to witness the destruction of many people’s hard-earned livelihoods and careers as a result of this earthquake.

As we continue to monitor the evolving emergency situation, SPARK is already planning the next steps of the response by supporting youth to rebuild their businesses and continue their studies. We are coordinating with relevant government partners and local authorities, partner organisations and donors to facilitate urgently needed reconstruction and recovery support.

At this stage, we are looking into the following support:

  • Supporting our partners in recovering their operations and the procurement of basic needs/goods for vulnerable members of the community;
  • Support businesses that are directly contributing to relief and rebuilding efforts by recovering supply chains;
  • Re-activate entrepreneurial activities in the affected zones;
  • Support entrepreneurs with financial instruments, grants, in kind and technical support to rebuild their affected companies;
  • Continue to work with higher education institutions to facilitate blended and online education for students;
  • Provide or replace damaged technical equipment needed by students and higher education institutions for continued higher education.

Thankfully all of SPARK’s staff and partners based throughout the affected region are safe but many have lost their homes, experienced injuries and lost loved ones. Understandably, our planned activities are paused for now because of this.

We continue to be grateful to the authorities, national and international humanitarian aid organisations that are providing their much-needed expertise to help the affected communities at this time.