“This cash card is very useful for me and my family because I will be free to buy clothes and other basic stuff for my children when needed. It will also give us the possibility to select and cook the food we want”.
Muna, 31 years old, received last week a cash card. She and her three daughters are asylum-seekers on Chios Island, Greece. They left Syria after Muna’s husband died during the war. Muna, is one among some 1000 beneficiaries of the cash card assistance programme that UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, introduced last week for the asylum seekers on the island in partnership with Samaritan’s Purse and with the support of European Commission – Humanitarian Aid.
The programme is intended as humanitarian aid to support individuals and families to meet basic needs such as complementary food, communication, hygiene products, transportation, clothing and children’s education materials. It also aims to bring benefits for asylum seekers which UNHCR considers critical in their protection and well-being during their asylum procedure. These include promoting self-reliance, re-establishing dignity and providing choice in allowing them to meet their household’s basic needs.
In Greece, the decision to provide asylum seekers with cash assistance has been jointly made by UNHCR, the Ministry of Migration Policy and the European Commission. This intervention is part of a larger and more holistic cash assistance programme which has been introduced throughout Greece since 2016.
The aim is to have all asylum seekers registered in Greece on the programme by the end of March 2017.
Cash assistance is increasingly used by humanitarian agencies worldwide, including UNHCR and other actors, to more effectively support beneficiaries’ to meet their and their families’ basic needs.