One brilliant project among thousands – a launderette that changes lives

One brilliant project among thousands – a launderette that changes lives

Countless Evangelical churches and organisations across Europe are involved in welcoming and caring for asylum seekers and refugees. Some have done so for decades. Others have responded to more recent refugee arrivals.  Here’s the story of just one great project.


In Turkey, there are 4 million Syrian refugees and countless Iranian, Afghan and other refugees too. Most struggle to rebuild their lives. Poverty, language difficulties, the trauma of dislocation; these and other barriers can seem impossible to overcome. But Turkish Christians are finding creative ways to love and support.


In Izmir, the Ekmek Association runs the Asma launderette serving Syrian refugees.


  • Because poor refugees do not have anywhere to wash their clothes and cannot afford to go elsewhere to clean them. Asma washes 55 loads per day.

  • Because a launderette can be a hub for friendship and integration support. Relationships are built, many extra activities can happen.

  • Because a launderette can employ people. Three Syrian ladies are able to work part time, running the washing machines, enabling them to provide financially for their families as well as care for their children.

  • Because a launderette can be a place of learning. Refugee children struggle to keep up with school classes when they are also overcoming language and other issues. The women who rely on Asma feel happy to bring their children to have fun but educational classes there.


Covid-19 has curtailed some of the activities at the launderette. Adult clients do not come into the space but deliver and receive back their clothes at the door. But the children are still welcomed. Small groups of them are welcomed throughout the day. The youngest ones get a head start in reading and writing in Turkish. Some of the older ones are now getting excellent marks in their school reports. The project also supplied computer tablets so that the students could access online classes.


If you would like to support the Asma launderette (the washing machines are getting very tired!), please contact Zekai & Alison Tanyar at     

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