Cash assistance: a lifeline for Syrian refugee families

The vast majority—more than 90 percent—of Syrian refugees live outside of refugee camps. Trying to rebuild their lives, they strive to make ends meet, but often fall short.

That’s why UNHCR provides the most vulnerable Syrian refugee families with cash assistance. Cash assistance—which averages $183 per family in Jordan—helps ensure that refugees can afford rent and pay monthly bills. The financial stability cash assistance programs provide also have positive impacts on refugees’ psychological well-being, food security, access to health care and opportunities for education.

Below are the stories of five Syrian refugee families who’ve received cash assistance from UNHCR, allowing them to stay safe and healthy during some of the most difficult times in their lives.

Abdelsalam and Khitam

Abdelsalam and his wife Khitam left their home in Syria five years ago. They have four children, Abdul Rahman, 5, Fatimah, 4, Khaled, 3, and baby Hilal who is just 4 months old. For the past 16 months they have been living in an unfinished building near Tripoli, Lebanon. Due to their poor living conditions, each of the family members have struggled with illnesses during the cold winter season. Fortunately, the family was able to use cash assistance from UNHCR to pay for medical treatment and medications. Khitam thinks that without it they wouldn’t all be alive today.


Entesar (39) fled with her family from Syria to Jordan in 2013 to escape the deadly airstrikes that were surrounding their home near the city of Homs.

Entesar fled Syria with her family in 2013 to escape deadly airstrikes on their home outside of Homs. She escaped with her parents and five children, including Kholud, pictured above, who was just a baby at the time. Kholud’s father stayed behind and was killed before they were able to be reunited in Jordan. Now Entesar, who lives with her elderly parents and five children, rents a small apartment Amman, the capital of Jordan. She relies on monthly cash assistance from UNHCR to meet their needs including rent, food, household items and heating supplies during the cold winter months.


Paralyzed by airstrikes in Syria, 27-year-old Mohammad is unable to work, leaving his single mother Mariam to provide for him and his five younger siblings all by herself. Cash assistance is a lifeline for the family, and helps them pay rent, buy food and household items and keep the children in school.


Zeenab is eight months pregnant. She and her four children live in Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan. Thanks to UNHCR winter cash assistance, the family was able to improve their shelter and buy a gas heater, keeping them warm and healthy during the dangerous winter season when rain and snow plague the area and temperatures drop below 25 degrees.

Brahim and Halima

Brahim, Halima and their six children fled from Syria to Greece in 2017. After arriving in Greece, they were given a cash card to pay for things like food, clothes, hygiene products, transportation and school supplies. Not only does the assistance help them meet their basic needs, it also gives them dignity of choice and allows them to contribute to the local economy. 

Cash assistance empowers families to make the financial choices they feel best serve their needs, restoring dignity and helping them to not only survive, but thrive.

Here’s how you can help...

Monthly giving is the best way to ensure UNHCR has the tools to provide immediate protection and long-term support. Please become a monthly donor today and help ensure lifesaving support is available immediately when a crisis occurs and for as long as vulnerable people need help.

Mar 15 2019
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