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E-vouchers: a lifeline to Syrian families in Turkey

Leena and her four-year-old grandnephew Sami.
Leena and her four-year-old grandnephew Sami. Photo: Concern Worldwide
News23 September 2016Maedhbh McDonald

Since the war erupted in Syria almost six years ago, Syrian families have been deprived of safety, security and, in many cases, access to food and basic essentials. 

Thanks to our e-voucher programme, supported by ECHO, we’ve been providing families with the food and supplies they need to survive.

This is Leena and her four-year-old grandnephew Sami. They were forced to flee Syria and are currently living in rented accommodation in Turkey. The one-room apartment they live in has no windows and the walls are lined with mattresses used as make-shift beds. They have been living here for the past seven months.

Sami’s story

Sami, who is just four years old, has experienced more horror and loss than most experience in a lifetime. When a bomb fell near his family’s home in Syria, Sami’s mother threw herself on top of him to protect her child. Her brave action spared him his life – but she tragically lost her own.

Following this terrible event, Sami’s family knew they had to act fast to get Sami to safety; before further tragedy could befall them. They fled their home, rushing across the border to Turkey, where Sami could live with his greataunt Leena and her children.

Leena (47) stands outside her rented accommodation in Turkey. Photographer: Kevin Carroll/Concern Worldwide.
Leena (47) stands outside her rented accommodation in Turkey. Photographer: Kevin Carroll/Concern Worldwide.

Leena’s story

Similarly, Leena has been tested to her limits by the ongoing war. Prior to Sami’s arrival, Leena was struggling to care for her two sons and disabled daughter – she couldn’t afford basic food or daily essentials. With no prospect of employment, Leena was forced to send her 10-year-old son, Anwar, out to work at a nearby hotel.

Since Sami’s arrival, Leena has been struggling to make ends meet and feared that she would soon have to send four-year-old Sami out to work. Thankfully, this was not the case and since Leena registered with the Concern e-voucher programme, she has been getting the support she needs.

Providing basic essentials

The Concern e-voucher programme, supported by ECHO, provides over 7,000 households in southeast Turkey with monthly financial support. Registered families use the e-vouchers to buy basic food and essentials in local shops, and we ensure that they’re given enough money to feed every member of their family.

The programme has been a lifeline for Leena and her family, as she can now afford to get the important basics she needs to survive and she will no longer be forced to send her children to work.

A Concern e-voucher along with receipts for purchased food.
A Concern e-voucher along with receipts for purchased food. Photo: Kevin Carroll/Concern Worldwide.

Regaining dignity and independence

After living hand-to-mouth for so long, our e-voucher programme is giving Syrian refugees the security they need to make it through the month. We’ve seen that the majority of families receiving e-vouchers are now able to meet their basic needs and there’s been a significant reduction in the number of families sending their children out to work.

The programme is also allowing Syrian refugees to regain some of the dignity and independence that has been stolen from them by the ongoing war.

You can help

With 2.7 million Syrian people in Turkey, resources are stretched and there is simply not enough to go around without the help of people like you. Your support could make all the difference. Please don’t wait – donate today.

Find out more

Jamna feeding her daughter Shanti

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