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What We Do

Cash Assistance

For vulnerable refugee families living outside of camps, cash assistance meets their needs in an effective, sustainable and dignified way.

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Photo Credit:  © UNHCR / Sebastian Rich

Why cash assistance is needed

When people are forced to flee their homes, they have no time to prepare and often leave with nothing but the clothes they are wearing. They lose everything familiar to them—their home, their job, their community.

Refugees are often forced to flee to countries with few economic opportunities, and in many countries, they are not legally permitted to work. Because 85 percent of refugees do not live in camps, work or a reliable source of money is extremely important for refugee families. Struggling to earn money to support their families, refugees living outside of camps are forced to make unimaginable decisions. They send their children to work instead of to school. They skip medications in order to provide another meal for their family. Home becomes any shelter, no matter the condition.

A small amount of cash assistance can be transformative. An allowance of just $185 per month can help one family pay rent and purchase food.

How cash assistance works

Refugee families are interviewed to establish eligibility. Once their application is approved, assistance is provided through existing banking systems. Each beneficiary can withdraw cash from an ATM, thus reducing the time between a refugee's assessment and receiving vital assistance.

Benefits:

"The cash is very useful, especially for buying winter items, such as heaters. I can't get a job, or when I do it only pays $10 per day, which is not enough to provide for my family."

-Suhail Qamber, Syrian refugee, Rmeileh, Lebanon

Impact

USA for UNHCR donors have enthusiastically supported the cash assistance programs that address the unique needs of Syrian refugees living in Jordan and Lebanon—raising millions since 2015. Cash assistance programs have expanded beyond the Middle East to help refugees in 60 countries all around the world.

Other Programs

Help Refugee Families

War, violence and persecution have forced millions of families from their homes. They urgently need shelter, protection and safety. You can help rush critical supplies like medicine, clean water, food and tents to desperate children and families. You can provide refugees with emergency support, long-term care and hope for the future.

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