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How cash assistance works for Syrian refugees

As the crisis in Syria enters its eighth year, millions of Syrian refugees face continued uncertainty – especially when it comes to affording the cost of daily life in exile.

Approximately 70 percent of Syrian refugees live below the poverty line. Paying for basic needs – rent, utilities, food, water and healthcare – is often a struggle. This puts refugee families at dire risk, often sending them into a spiral of vulnerability, forcing them to make difficult choices such as skipping meals or taking their children out of school.

Monthly cash assistance makes a vital difference for vulnerable Syrian refugee families who are determined to provide a better life for their families. They strive to make ends meet, but often fall short.

A safe, secure and reliable 5-step process

UNHCR’s cash assistance program uses an innovative, secure approach to identify vulnerable families and transfer the cash they need in a safe, reliable way.

  1. Refugees are registered and their irises scanned using state-of-the-art technology.
  2. UNHCR staff conduct home visits to refugee families to see living conditions and assess vulnerability, using tools that measure expenditures, family size, health issues and other factors to determine the families with greatest need of assistance.
  3. Based on these assessments, families selected for cash assistance, informed and given instructions on how to access their monthly cash.
  4. The process is secure and seamless: there’s no card. No PIN number. The cash withdrawal is made using iris identification scans.
  5. UNHCR conducts post-distribution surveys to see how refugees are using cash assistance, identify challenges and measure impact.

According to UNHCR assessments, monthly cash assistance is most commonly used to pay rent (84 percent of responses). The next most common expenditures are utilities (43 percent), food (33 percent) and health (26 percent).

Cash assistance empowers families to make the financial choices they feel best serve their needs and opportunities. It encourages resourcefulness and resilience. It encourages dignity, helping refugees to help themselves and not only survive, but thrive.

Resolve to help refugees in 2019...

Monthly giving is the most convenient, effective and efficient way you can help people fleeing conflict. Start making a lifesaving difference today. Please become USA for UNHCR’s newest monthly donor.

Mar 12 2019
TOPICS News Syria
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