Unconditional cash assistance offers glimpses of hope
UNICEF helps vulnerable families to meet their basic needs during winter
Sobhia is a widow and a mother of four. She was displaced twice with her children and managed to return home to Suran village in northern rural of Hama three years ago.
The family had to stay at the grandfather’s house. It was extremely affected by the conflict and Sobhia had to sell some of the furniture to lightly rehabilitate it.
With a little income from preparing vegetables, support from a few families and local charities, Sobhia is barely surviving.
Her youngest child, Hamzeh, struggles with deformity in his neck. It was caused by an accident that happened to him when he was a baby. Hamzeh is in a dire need to a surgery because of his situation.
Sobhia is worried about her child’s wellbeing and determined to help him. “Hamzeh will learn as his siblings, but I will not register him in the school until he recovers and is operated. I don’t want him to be bullied in classroom because of his condition,” she explained.
In September 2022, Sobhia learned about UNICEF’s cash for winter assistance for vulnerable families. Her family was registered for it during door-to-door visits when eligible families were identified for winter assistance in Suran village, rural Hama.
In October 2022, Sobhia received her first cash transfer of US$ 60 and spent it on Hamzeh’ s first phase of treatment and examination fees. Because of the very limited resources, Sobiha is relying on the cash assistance to complete Hamzeh’s treatment.” I will use all the cash for Hamzeh’s treatment, I know it’s a long journey, but I will use all possible opportunities to help him,” Sobhia said.
UNICEF winter assistance, informed by evidence and lessons learned, provides unconditional cash to families with children in urban and peri-urban areas during wintertime. This assistance will help families pay for essential items they need the most.
UNICEF’s support focuses mainly on families caring for children living with severe mental or physical disabilities as well as female-headed families severely affected by several displacements.
“I was dreaming of taking Hamzeh to a dermatologist. Finally, we are here! I want Hamzeh to restore his self- confidence and feel included. This wouldn’t have happened without the cash assistance,” Sobhia said.
During the current winter season, the registered families will receive three rounds of cash transfers. Additionally, a dedicated social worker will support and help families and children with special needs access the essential services they need throughout the winter.
In 2022- 2023 winter season, UNICEF aims to reach 200,000 people living in the most vulnerable and impoverished neighbourhoods across Syria with the multi-purpose cash for winter assistance to help them fulfil some of their basic needs. The activities will be funded by Governments of Canada and Denmark; EU Humanitarian Aid (ECHO); France National Committee for UNICEF; Luxembourg National Committee for UNICEF; Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA); UNICEF’s Global Humanitarian Thematic Fund; and the UN Central Emergency Response Fund.