taiwan reyhanli centre
located in reyhanli, turkey
Amidst the turmoil
of the 11-year Syrian civil war
and with 8 million refugees displaced,
a beacon of hope has emerged.
The Turkish-Syrian border town of Reyhanli,
located 2 kilometers away from the conflict,
has 100,000 Turkish residents
and 250,000 Syrian refugees.
People from Taiwan, Turkey,
and the wider international community
have donated 7,000 square meters of land
and 52 standard units, to build a center of hope,
today known as the Taiwan Reyhanli Centre.
The center promises to provide a lifeline
for those affected by the conflict,
offering a glimmer of hope
in the midst of hardship.
The Taiwan Reyhanli Centre’s architectural design is inspired by the traditional Islamic architecture prevalent in the area where it is located, catering to the predominantly Islamic beliefs of the Syrian refugees it serves. The central feature of the building is its grand arch, measuring 10 meters in height, 6.3 meters in width, and 8 meters in depth. The roof of the building is designed to echo the scale of the arched cloisters of the Aleppo Grand Mosque, effectively bridging the gap between Turkey and Syria.
The unique arched roof of the Taiwan Reyhanli Centre draws inspiration from the stone arch structure of Hattusa, which dates back to 1200 BC, and has been designed to feature a beautiful hyperbolic shape. The roof’s color, a striking sky blue, was chosen to complement the distinct color palette of Reyhanli City. Furthermore, graphics displaying Chinese, English, Turkish, and Arabic surround the roof, providing a unifying cultural touch. The building is expected to serve as a beacon of hope.
In May 2013, the city of Reyhanli was hit by two bomb attacks on the same day, killing 52 people and injuring 146. The city of Reyhanli has been the frequent target of rocket attacks since 2011, the most recent of which occurred in September 2019.
The Syrian civil war, which began in 2011, has led to over 5.6 million individuals fleeing Syria to seek asylum in other countries, including Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, and other regions (UNHCR, 2018). Turkey has accommodated over 3.6 million Syrian refugees.
Reyhanli is located in the Southeastern part of Turkey, Hatay Province. This means that Reyhanli is located on the main route from Turkey to Aleppo, serving as a vital entry point for Syrians seeking asylum.
The majority of Syrians arriving in Turkey do not live in refugee camps but reside in cities or on the outskirts of cities, with two thirds of them being women and children. Unfortunately, about 40% of Syrian children lack access to education and basic medical insurance.
Reyhanli faces various social challenges already, such as poverty, unemployment, inadequate infrastructure, and shortages of water and electricity. The town also lacks public facilities like housing, healthcare, education, and recreational amenities. These issues impact the daily lives of the community.
Despite many years passing since the outbreak of the Syrian crisis, the political unrest continues. However, for those who have arrived and live in our Taiwan Reyhanli Centre, they have found a community and a sense of belonging.
The rising refugee population, coupled with economic fragility after the pandemic, and intensifying social issues, have led to a difficult situation for residents of Reyhanli. This has resulted in growing tensions between Syrians and Turks.
The Taiwan Reyhanli Centre has offered refugees a ray of hope, like the warmth of the winter sun.
In 2016, the Taiwan Reyhanli Centre’s construction plan and site survey commenced.
The building broke ground in April 2020, with completion in September that same year.
During these four years, Dr. Chiu voluntarily was the first private funder and is now the CEO of the centre.
He worked closely with the Turkish government, non-governmental organisations, and local grassroots groups to make the centre’s vision and plan come true.
Dr. Chiu now has a management team supporting the centre’s vision.
We are thrilled about the Taiwan Reyhanli Centre’s success so far and are excited to continue serving our community.
Working Together for Refugees: Our Collaborative Approach
The International Humanitarian Architecture and Education Association was established
in partnership with Tayvan Dünya Vatandaşları Derneği, a non-profit social organisation on the Turkish-Syrian border.
Both organisations support the ‘Taiwan Reyhanli Centre by aiding in its construction and improving the livelihoods of local refugees in need.
In addition, CEO Dr. Chiu founded three more organisations in Taiwan: The Association of International Humanitarian Architecture and Education,
Meow Meow Woof Woof Limited Company, and Women Corporation. He also established two organisations in Turkey:
CECE JIJI Tekstil Tourism Industry Domestic and Foreign Trade Limited Company and Women Corporation.
These five organisations share a common goal of making substantial contributions to the refugee issue
by providing support to the vulnerable groups and advancing humanitarian causes.