Ad.dar (“home” in Arabic) is an all-volunteer, non-political, non-religious, multi-cultural community initiative established for Syrian and Syrian-Palestinian refugees living in Istanbul. Ad Dar’s international volunteers (from Syria, Turkey, United States, Germany, Canada and more) organize activities and classes, as well as various forms of practical, social, and emotional assistance for children, families, and youths. Ad.dar is unique in that the organization is explicitly apolitical and inclusive of all—completely regardless of sect or creed. All are welcome.
Istanbul has many refugees from Syria, but no refugee camps. Mazen Rabia, born a second-generation Palestinian refugee in Yarmouk Camp, Damascus, 50-plus years ago, became a double refugee when he left Syria. In Istanbul, Mazen saw the need for a center where young Syrians, especially youths and young adults, could find support and community. In January 2014, Mazen founded Ad.dar (The Home, in Arabic). In Damascus Mazen, a beloved and brilliant teacher, had taught the wonders of the Arabic language to a whole generation of students from outside the Middle East and now teaches Arabic at Istanbul’s Koc University. At Ad.dar Center, he has drawn together Syrians and non-Syrians to “invent” Ad.dar as a center of community and learning for refugees and exiles.