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Lost No More: Wherever It Is, “Weno” Will Tell You

Imagine you had just landed in the middle of Turkey, in need of a doctor and with no idea how to find one—or how to ask in Turkish.

If you were one of the thousands of non-Turkish-speaking Syrians newly arrived to Gaziantep, you’d have no way of knowing that the eastern city contains at least five low-cost medical clinics staffed by both Turkish and Syrian physicians, and seven schools and institutes for Syrian students. Until Weno, that is.

This handy website, which means “where is it” in colloquial Syrian Arabic, saves these new arrivals from worrying about where to find the services they need. Created to break the language barrier, it alleviates Syrians’ difficulties navigating the city.

“I decided to launch Weno when I realized the communication burden was too heavy for Syrian refugees,” says its founder, graphic designer Soheib Hamwi. Users can surf the site to locate hospitals, schools, and companies—not to mention the over twenty authentic Aleppan restaurants and cafes where they can enjoy delicious traditional foul, hummus and other Syrian meals.

It also provides Syrians with information about scholarships in Turkey and the steps for obtaining a residence permit, renewing passports and other legal procedures. Soheib and his associates are now working on expanding Weno to include other cities, starting with Istanbul and Mersin. Eventually, they aspire to offer their services as far abroad as Germany and other European countries.

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