About Us

Establishment Story of Our Foundation

Names Stolen by War

“One of the soldiers came in and said in a hostile manner that if anyone got off the bus, he would shoot them. Even when I was under the bombs in Aleppo, I had never felt death this close. They were right next to us now. I was praying to be saved. We had been waiting for eight hours and the inside of the bus was freezing. We had some water and food with us, but I had to take care of the children's toilet needs.

In the twelfth hour of our wait, it was dark. As we waited, we were cold and losing hope. The children were crying. I did not know what to do as they cried. There was no way I could explain to them the situation we were in. At an early age, they had faced unimaginable fears.

After twenty-two hours, sleep, hunger, needs, fear had turned our minds and bodies upside down. I thought if I slept they would kill everyone. My heart was in my mouth as I saw the armed men approaching the bus. Sometimes I wanted to cry out, "Enough is enough, if you're going to kill us, kill us now!", then I was patient, thinking of the orphans with me.

For a while, when they started to move around us, I thought that the time had come and they would kill us all. Because it wasn't something they wouldn't do."

The world got to know Esmar and the orphans he adopted in a basement in Aleppo. 47 orphaned children called to the world via a video from a dark basement, asking to be rescued from the siege in Aleppo.

As Yetim Foundation team, we are in a town in the Syrian city of Idlib. Esmar, who survived the siege in Aleppo, tells us about her experiences in the basement where they were trapped and on the bus during the evacuation. The world got to know Esmar and the orphans he adopted in a basement in Aleppo. 47 orphaned children called to the world via a video from a dark basement, asking to be rescued from the siege in Aleppo. After the agreements made, the humanitarian corridor was opened and the children were rescued, albeit with difficulty.

For now they are safe, they welcome us in the basement of a house. A thin rug, two stoves and nine mattresses. These are all the items in a large room. Esmar, the director of the orphanage, is a young man who has not yet turned 30. While describing his experiences in Aleppo, he suddenly interrupts and points to a girl. The boy's head is injured, one foot is in a cast. He tells that they did not know his name, so they called him Sevra.

No one knows Sevra's real name and age. He lost his entire family in the airstrike. It is not known which family he is the child of, as he was the only one who escaped from the building. After being treated at the hospital for a while, he was given to the orphanage. They estimated he was 1 year old. The other children in the orphanage wanted to call him Sevra, meaning revolution. Sevra thinks the children in the orphanage are her brothers.

Esmar then points to another girl. A cute little girl who is around 4-5 years old. He tells that she has a similar story. They called her Sema. Sema was left at their door 4 months ago. She can't walk or talk. She has scars on her legs. It is not known what she went through, after what kind of shock she became like this. Are her parents alive, what is her name, how old is she, why is she here? All of these questions remain unanswered.

Half of the children in the orphanage have lost both their parents. All of them are children of the age of war, grown up with death.

After spending some time in Idlib with orphan children, we return to Turkey. Along the way, we witness the scars of the war. Thousands of houses with no smoking chimneys, no windows and no walls; hundreds of ruined buildings; streets razed by tanks and planes; a ghost town… Everything is left unfinished. The floors above the houses, new shops, marriages, hopes, dreams, everything is unfinished…

The 47 children rescued from the middle of the war are now safe, but is this real salvation? Will the children who have witnessed the war and the deaths easily get over them? The story of Yetim Foundation begins with these questions. Saying "and then?".

When the way to seek answers to these questions and find solutions became concrete under the name "Yetim Foundation", conflicts intensified in Aleppo and thousands of people were under siege. Thus, the first step of Yetim Foundation was to respond to the call of orphans spreading from Aleppo to the world. This hand extended to Syria today will soon reach all over the world. Yetim Foundation will work to mend the hearts of the world's aggrieved children.