Like any person her age, Anne O Rorke looked forward to retiring in peace. However since the last one year, she has made herself at home in the tents of Syrian refugees in Turkey. The Irish woman is volunteering full-time with a local non-profit in Cesme, Turkey.
A year ago, it was a regular evening when Anne was watching the evening news while waiting for her favorite show Coronation Street to begin. The images she saw of the Syrian refugees changed the course of her life.
She and her husband Tom traveled to Leros, Greece soon after in February 2016. From there, they went to the west coast of Turkey. This was a place where the couple often spent their summers enjoying the sunny beaches.
Immediately on arrival, Anne started working with İmece İnisiyatifi Çeşme. The organization was found by a group of students in 2013. Since October 2015, they have been working to fulfill the needs of Syrian refugees on their way to the island of Chios.
“We have more than 3.5 million refugees in Turkey at the moment. Most come with only the clothes on their back. They have no food, no shoes, nothing. I understand that not everybody can come here to volunteer. But all of us can do something,” Anne O Rorke has said in various interviews.
She suggests anything from giving away old clothes, shoes, sheets, blankets and other household stuff. Another important aspect of the rehabilitation is to buy food for them, for which funds need to be raised. Anne and her friends had put up a pop up shop before Christmas to raise some funds.