On an ordinary day, we make thousands of seemingly insignificant decisions. Should I buy the coffee or tea? The one-week travel card or the one-month? A cake or a balloon for a birthday celebration?
We take these ordinary decisions for granted. Yet refugee families, forced to leave their homes, belongings and lives behind, are often unable to make these decisions for themselves. The ability to choose restores freedom. It restores dignity. It restores identity.
That’s why the World Food Programme and the European Union created the Emergency Social Safety Net. The ESSN is helping more than 1.7 million vulnerable refugees in Turkey pay for their basic needs and restore a sense of normalcy to their lives. The programme provides refugees with an ESSN debit card that is topped up with cash each month, so they can buy the things their families need most.
Having struggled to provide nutritious food for her children, Maryam’s joy at being able to provide for them thanks to the ESSN card is only exceeded by the smile on her children’s faces who love milk.
Fatma’s children love vine leaves and, thanks to the ESSN card, she is able to make them as a special treat for the whole family to enjoy.
Having slept on a carpet on the floor for almost a year, being able to buy cushions to sleep on has been critical to improvements to Houla’s health – and to her children’s lives.
Welcoming guests with a traditional drink has helped Fatma feel a sense of normalcy that’s been missing since she and her family fled their home in Syria.
Alongside being able to pay for rent and water with the ESSN card, Nazir’s family were delighted to be able to buy flatbread – a small reminder of their lives back home.