Cash programme launched in Jordan to support Syrian families

تم النشر: 8 أبريل 2013 18:58 CET

Mohammed and his six children have recently arrived to Ajloun governorate 76km northwest of Amman, Jordan. The 33-year-old Syrian escaped the harsh winter in Zaatari camp which his children couldn’t bear.

We meet Mohammed on a Wednesday morning at the Jordan National Red Crescent branch in Ajloun. A small crowd of refugees has gathered in front of the office, since it is a common meeting point for people in need.

“I came here to receive an ATM Card, I still don’t know how the system works but I am very excited to learn as this will certainly support my six children and my wife,” says Mohammed. “With this card we will be receiving cash which will enable us to pay for a rent. The Red Crescent helps my family and all of the people queuing here to overcome the biggest obstacle to a decent live.”

Together with a local Jordanian bank, the Red Crescent programme helps beneficiaries during a three month period to cover their most urgent needs as rents and household items. The ATM card is loaded with money on a monthly basis.  

In order to take part in the programme, Syrians have to be registered as refugees. The selection of beneficiaries is based on vulnerability. It excludes those who already take part in similar programmes. In Ajloun, 256 people in need were selected. The Jordan Red Crescent is handling everything from registration of beneficiaries to the distribution. Once refugees have signed the programme agreement, JRC volunteers offer a briefing about the  the use of the card.

“The cash assistance programme has a double benefit,” says Dr. Mohammad Al-Hadid, President of Jordan Red Crescent. “It protects the dignity of Syrian refugees and the rights of the Jordanian landlords.”  

“The Syrian crisis has become international and requires a collective effort by the international community to deal with the various economic, social and security impacts”, Mr. Al-Hadid says. “Jordanians will continue to receive and welcome their Syrian brothers and sisters and will offer them the support they need.”

As a volunteer, Rita is on the frontline on the assistance to Syrian refugees. “It is extremely inspiring to be part of this project. I can see satisfaction on people’s faces, some old people take time to understand how the system works yet they are very happy and thankful,” she says.

An elderly lady sitting with Rita during the ATM Card briefing adds: “I’m a single parent and I need to raise my children; all kinds of support is welcome but this will help me control my monthly expenditure better.”

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and Jordan National Red Crescent has been focusing its response on Syrian refugees living in host communities, which comprise over 70 per cent of the refugee population. The need for cash grants has been identified through a joint assessment carried out by the IFRC with the National Society and the Swiss Red Cross. The implementation of the cash program has be made possible by contributions national Red Cross societies from Britain, Switzerland, Japan, and the United States of America.

“For the Swiss Red Cross it is important to meet the most urgent needs. This unconditional cash assistance offers a good solution and gives beneficiaries the power to decide what they need the most,” says Nadine Weber, cash delegate for the Swiss Red Cross in Amman.

Mohamed Babiker, IFRC Gulf Regional Representative was impressed by the distribution he witnessed in Ajloun: “I have seen the gratitude of those who have fled their country. And I must also praise the dedicated volunteers and society’s leadership and management for their great support to the project.”