AMS Supports Türkiye and Syria

FEBRUARY 17, 2023—Early in the morning on Monday, February 6, 2023, one 7.8 magnitude and another 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck southeast Türkiye (Turkey) and northwest Syria. It was one of the strongest earthquakes to hit the region in a century. At the time of writing, over 40,000 people have been confirmed dead in the aftermath with the number continuously rising.

The earthquake hit a region of 15 million people (representing about ⅙ of the country of Türkiye both geographically and demographically). Critical infrastructure, roads, airports, gas lines, water pipes, and buildings have been destroyed in both countries.

Raife Cebeci, AMS member and recipient of the 2022 Nancy McCormick Rambusch Trailblazer Award, has been nurturing the growth of Montessori education in her home country of Türkiye since 2012. Antakya (Antioch), the city with the heaviest damage, is where Raife was born and where she lived until she left for university. “To give a glimpse of what things are like there, about 80% of the city’s buildings have collapsed, and the remaining 20% are not in livable or safe conditions. It goes without saying that the area will be in a very difficult state for the coming months, if not years,” Raife said.

Raife is the founder of the first (and only) AMS-affiliated teacher education program in Türkiye, the Montessori Institute for Teacher Education – Turkey, located in Istanbul. Raife says, “As a long-time educator, I'd like to apply my own skills, networks, and expertise to make a difference for these children. We all know the benefits that come from a nurturing Montessori philosophy, and I believe this kind of education will be crucial to help children in that region cope with their trauma over the next 3 – 4 years, and long into the future. I would like to look for ways to bring this education to them—even if it can't be done in solid, brick-and-mortar classrooms, but in short-term tent classrooms, in informal circles, in whatever ways we can.”

The American Montessori Society would like to thank Raife for her support in pulling together the following reputable resources and organizations for supporting our friends who have been impacted by these devastating earthquakes. Thousands of volunteers and organizations are working around the clock for rescue efforts and to support the people of Türkiye and Syria.


Below is a list of carefully picked and reputable fundraising campaigns.
  • Türkiye Earthquake Relief Fund by TPF provides immediate relief to survivors. TPF is a tax-exempt organization in the U.S. You can Venmo, Paypal, or donate via credit card.
  • AFAD is Turkey’s Ministry of Interior Disaster and Emergency Management Residency. This link contains IBAN numbers for USD and EUR accounts along with Bank Swift codes. Your donations to this site will be used in efforts to help earthquake victims. The website is in Turkish but you can easily find the IBAN numbers.
  • The Turkish Embassy is collecting in-kind donations through mail or drop-off.
  • AHBAP is a Turkey-based NGO working in the region. The website is in Turkish but the Bank Accounts are not hard to find. They accept donations in USD, TR, and GBP.
  • Islamic Relief teams are on the ground right now responding to the disaster in both Türkiye and Syria. You can donate to their campaign via credit card.
  • AKUT, Turkish Search and Rescue Association You can choose to donate in USD, EUR, or TL.
  • ZAKAT Foundation of America’s emergency relief team is on the ground and accepting donations.
  • UNICEF USA has also started a campaign, providing emergency assistance to children and families in Syria and Türkiye.
  • A list of Washington D.C.-area organizations accepting donations for survivors of the earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria.

For more information on how to support earthquake survivors, visit this resource in English and in Turkish.