Jordan: What cash assistance means for a refugee

Report
from Save the Children
Published on 04 Mar 2013 View Original

Farah Sayegh, Information & Communication Officer from Jordan, writes about how cash grants are helping Syrian families living in host communities in Jordan to meet their household needs while they rebuild their lives.

Despite popular perceptions, most Syrian refugees in Jordan don’t live in refugee camps. Most are living in host communities in the country, struggling to make a new life for themselves.

Many Syrian families have now been in Jordan for several months now, with minimal belongings. They have spent their savings and depleted their assets.

Families I spoke to all agreed that their biggest expense is rent, followed by food, electricity, water and supplies for their children. They are in debt to friends, neighbours and shopkeepers as their savings ran out a while ago.

Cash assistance

Save the Children has recently started a cash assistance project supported by the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Office. We are giving cash grants – in the form of debit cards – to more than 2,000 Syrian and vulnerable Jordanian households. We have opened bank accounst for beneficiaries, giving them access to financial services otherwise inaccessible to these families.

What’s unique about this project is that it targets unregistered Syrian refugees in the host communities. Targeting unregistered refugees is very significant, especially at a time when thousands are entering Jordan every day, forcing delays in registration appointments.

Aside from cash grants, our staff hold awareness-raising sessions to ensure families spend the cash to meet the needs of their children and learn how to prioritise expenditures based on the needs of their household.

A lifeline

I look around me and see children playing and running around near the distribution area while their families wait in line calmly for what they consider to be their immediate lifeline.

I met a father who fled Syria with his three sons, two of them are children with disabilities. He was unemployed for a whole year inside Syria and is now unemployed in Jordan.

“For a Syrian refugee at the age of 55, it’s very difficult to get hired,” the man explains to me, and says he is mostly reliant on charity assistance which unfortunately is inconsistent. He is already in debt for rent of his crammed two-room apartment. “It’s a relief that I’ll start to receive 100 dinars (£94) a month, which will pay my rent, and I will continue my search for a job so I can buy the medication my children need.”

It’s rewarding to see that our support is easing the hardships these families face by helping them to meet the needs of their households and children in a dignified manner.