Leyla Altuntaş


Mardin Community Participation and Development Association

Mardin, Turkey

“We don’t need to go to war to learn what a horrible thing war is.”

Leyla Altuntaş has been working to promote peace through her work in the civil society sector for over 20 years. President of the Mardin Community Participation and Development Association, Leyla has volunteered her time and leadership to design, coordinate, and implement a wide variety of programs intended to enrich the lives of those from marginalized and disadvantaged communities.

Her work with Syrian refugees, and other forcibly and internally displaced peoples focuses on increasing their access to opportunity and integration into the local community while simultaneously ensuring that their basic needs are met. She also engages with the local host community executing awareness campaigns revolving around social cohesion and improved access to livelihoods for all.

Aside from working with migrant communities, Leyla has also spearheaded programs that facilitate young women and girls’ educational attainment through the provision of international and domestic scholarships. Moreover, her creation of gender and sexual based violence awareness campaigns, and her efforts to end child marriage have seen her develop and lead diverse programs and projects across the Meydanbaşı, Savur, Ensar, Kötek, Yeniyol, and Yalım districts of the Mardin province.

Since 2016 she has had one-on-one meetings with more than 2,400 women and 1,600 children, striving to provide hope for those affected by forced and internal displacement. Recently she has been arranging various social awareness workshops with women from Syrian refugee and host communities, while also securing legal, cash, and in-kind assistance for those in need.