A piece of paper changes the life of Ali

After fleeing his conflict-ridden country, Ali tries to build a new life in refuge.

After surviving four years of gruesome conflict in Syria, young Ali decided to flee to Turkey and try to rebuild his life, where he has been residing for the past five years. What he did not know upon arriving to Turkey was how a single piece of paper could change the course of his life.

When Ali first arrived to Turkey, he lived in Hatay, a city near the Syrian-Turkish border, and received a Temporary Protection Identification Document (TPID), which allows refugees to access subsidised services and work in the areas they are registered in.

“My struggles began when I got married. My wife is registered in Kilis and I had no idea moving her registration to Hatay would be this hard,” says 27-year-old Ali. The process was taking long, and the couple could not afford paying the fees with Ali’s unstable income from working as a handyman. Without this paper, his wife could not access any aid or subsidised services provided to refugees in Hatay.

With funding from European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO), the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) helped Ali and his wife. “They paid the fees, helped us get from Hatay to Kilis whenever we needed, and the legal services team walked us through the required steps,” says Ali. The provision of legal services is one of DRC’s most needed services. This project has helped hundreds of people update their location or issue new TPID cards when needed.

“It is such a relief knowing our papers are in order. We’re expecting our first son in a few months and are very happy to know we can register him without issues,” adds the young man.

Today, Ali is looking for more stable work opportunities. “I would like to start my own business,” he says. While before the COVID-19 pandemic, Ali was making enough money to make ends meet, he is now barely able to find work. “I have rent to pay and food to put on the table,” he adds. He hopes for a better future for him and his small, but growing, family.