OUR PURPOSE IS TO KEEP HUMAN DIGNITY ALIVE
I believe that Turkey's participation finance experience is not only vital for our country but also for humanity
While providing us with brief information about the activities of the organisation, the President of the Turkish Red Crescent, Kerem Kınık, also emphasised the importance of participation finance in humanitarian aid during our interview.
WE REALISE THAT THE HOLY MONTH OF RAMADAN IS AN IMPORTANT TIME FOR THE TURKISH CRESCENT. HOW WAS THE SECOND RAMADAN AMID THE PANDEMIC?
The Turkish Crescent has been our people's bridge of goodness for 153 years. The holy month of Ramadan is a time when generosity becomes more evident, along with the increase in empathy among one another. The first day of Eid is the day of the Red Crescent Flower Day. The women of the Red Crescent take the first meaningful step to provide help to those in need by selling flower-shaped badges on the streets.
The pandemic is a time in which morale should be kept high, and solidarity should increase. We have prioritised Turkey in a time when we must support each other's company more than ever. Our young and female volunteers strive to convey not only aid but also human compassion. Like every year, we have worked relentlessly with thousands of volunteers and visiting every village and house to reach out to those in need. This year, the Red Crescent planned to deliver 225 million TRY worth of aid materials to 8 million people in need through its branches, representative offices and 60 thousand volunteers. With 26 soup kitchens and 44 mobile catering vehicles, we prepared iftar dinners for 2 million and 256 thousand people. We also prepared 570 thousand canned meats for 2 million 280 thousand people in need. The Red Crescent aimed to provide cash support worth 103 million TRY with 500 TRY per household to 206 thousand families during Ramadan. Furthermore, we delivered aid to low-income families with the fitra and fidya donations.
Through our 18 delegations abroad, including Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Indonesia, Palestine, South Sudan, Iraq, TRNC, Kosovo, Macedonia, Pakistan, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, we reached out to 963 thousand people in need by extending Turkey's hand of generosity.
In addition, we continued to deliver aid to Arakans during Ramadan, who were victims of the fire that broke out in the Cox's Bazar region of Bangladesh and affected more than 55 thousand immigrants. Within the scope of food aid, the organisation planned to deliver a total of 102 thousand food parcels to 612 thousand people, including 20 thousand food parcels to Bangladesh, 20 thousand to Syria, 10 thousand to Yemen and 52 thousand to other countries.
ONE OF THE FIRST CONCEPTS THAT COME TO MIND WHEN TALKING ABOUT THE TURKISH RED CRESCENT IS HUMANITARIAN AID. BASED ON THE UNDERSTANDING THAT FOCUSES ON PEOPLE AND HUMANITY, WHAT CAN YOU SAY ABOUT THE CULTURE OF COOPERATION BETWEEN PARTICIPATION FINANCE SECTOR AND HUMANITARIAN AID?
There has been a shift from aid boxes (Food boxes) to cash-based aid positioned on the world of humanitarian aid requirements. Cash-aid not only prevents waste of resources but also contributes to the strengthening of the domestic economy. With the concept of humanitarian finance at its core, Participation banks have worked hand in hand with the humanitarian aid sector to keep human dignity alive. We aim to develop sustainable models and enable people to live a life without the need for support. We know that a person involved in economic activities supports seven people around her/him directly or indirectly. With our social consulting company, Kizilay Investment Inc., we open our knowledge to national and international cooperation. Our purpose is to keep human dignity alive. With participation banks and their experience, we can take the necessary steps to set a global example to support people who do not require help and who want to stand on their own feet with their efforts and skills.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE POSSIBLE ROLE OF PARTICIPATION FINANCE SECTOR IN HUMANITARIAN AID, ESPECIALLY IN THE MUSLIM GEOGRAPHY?
There are many opportunities, especially in the area of microfinance. We know that in the Islamic world, Mohammed Yunus in Bangladesh and some pioneers in Tunisia have carried out several initiatives in this field. We strive to establish strong ties between the humanitarian aid and finance sector with Red Finance, which is the financial model of the Red Crescent and Red Cross, where we continue to conceptualise the field of humanitarian aid. We believe that new technologies, especially blockchain, can play an essential role in increasing the effectiveness of humanitarian aid. The Muslim world includes both the richest and poorest countries in the globe. To alleviate these inequalities, layers/barriers between those who want to help and those who need help must be eliminated. Furthermore, we must put a traceable, sustainable mechanism in place. Developing instruments in the field of humanitarian aid will shorten the path to reach human dignity.
COULD YOU PROVIDE INFORMATION ABOUT THE EXISTING AND POTENTIAL COLLABORATIONS BETWEEN THE TURKISH RED CRESCENT AND THE PARTICIPATION FINANCE SECTOR?
Together with the financial world, the Red Crescent successfully continues the KızılayKart program, which is the world's most extensive cash-based aid program. Our partners in this field are the United Nations, the European Union and the International Red Cross Federation. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals defines global humanity risks and matches them with the crucial goals of alleviating poverty and ending hunger. The Red Crescent considers the financial sector as a solid ally to eradicate the root cause of problems. Institutions, primarily the United Nations, are trying to comprehend the financial mobility in the Islamic world. Zakat funds are gaining prominence. I believe that Turkey's participation finance experience is not only vital for our country but also for humanity. Developing the humanitarian finance perspective that aims to eradicate humanitarian aid with the participation finance sector will be the most significant value we can offer to today's world.
Head of The Turkish Red Crescent Dr. Kerem Kınık
You can view the content in the 25th issue of Katılım Finans. (OUR PURPOSE IS TO KEEP HUMAN DIGNITY ALIVE)