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June, 05 2023

A Determined Single Mother, Syrian Refugee and Earthquake Survivor 

Maisun is a mother of five, a baker, and a superhero to her children. Originally from Idlib, Maisun sadly lost her husband and one of her daughters to airstrikes in Syria. After being displaced three times within her country, each time fleeing with her remaining children in search of safety, she relocated her family to Türkiye.


Maisun learned to bake and sold cookies, cakes, flatbreads and pastries to support her children. Just one day before the February 6th earthquake, Maisun purchased a dough mixer for her small bakery business. Maisun’s love of baking ended up saving her life. The 7.8 magnitude initial quake struck shortly after 4 am. And while most were asleep, Maisun happened to be up because she was baking. For this reason alone, she was able to save her family and survive. She had to physically pull her daughter out from beneath the rubble of their destroyed home to save her. 

The kids lived all their lives in war, then we made a life here in Antakya, but the earthquake came and ruined everything. Now we have returned to suffering. It’s worse than the war,” Maisun said.  

Türkiye is home to the largest population of refugees in the world, with 3.6 million Syrian refugees living in the country. The massive earthquakes introduced scores of additional internally displaced people in need of humanitarian support. 


“We tried to look for a home to rent but our money is not enough, and everything we have was still under the rubble. During this hard time, CORE organization gave us market vouchers which we can redeem with anything we want from the market,” said Maisun. She is one of 518 beneficiaries of CORE and our local partner Ihsan’s cash voucher assistance program for earthquake-affected survivors in Mersin.  

While many community-based organizations and the Turkish government have been supplying individuals with emergency relief items, Maisun said that the cash voucher support enables her to select essential items she knows her family enjoys. CORE values the agency of individuals, in choosing how to meet their needs, on their own terms.