Syria, various locations. “We have no cash, no food, and no furniture,” says Khitam, from Suran village in Rural Hama. The ongoing crisis in Syria left over 14.6 million people in need in 2022, most of them women and children. Conflict and economic collapse have contributed to rising food insecurity and financial hardship. Almost 80 per cent of people reported that they could not meet their basic needs.
UNICEF, with CERF funding, aimed to reach 350,000 vulnerable people with clean water, nutrition, education and protection support, including cash to help families cope at critical times of the year.
During years of displacement due to fighting, Zahira and Ismail struggled to make ends meet. After moving back home, Zahira noticed that her three daughters – Hala, Reem and Ithraa – were all shorter and smaller than their peers in school. She took them to a nearby UNICEF-supported health centre, supported in part by the Central Emergency Response Fund.
The girls were diagnosed with malabsorption, difficulty in digesting or absorbing nutrients from food. Reem and Ithraa received medicine to support their growth. “There were days when we had nothing to eat but bread. The girls’ poor diet probably led to this,” said Zahira.
The family also received cash to help buy critical supplies for the winter. The winter assistance provides cash to families living in cities with children during the winter.
Khitam, in Suran, faced rising rent for her home even as the school year was starting, with all the associated expenses. US$60 in winter assistance helped her kids be ready for the new term. “I was so relieved when I received the cash. It came exactly on time! I bought my children new stationery and new clothes for school. Also, I bought food and stored it for emergencies,” said Khitam.
Siboha, also in Suran, is using the cash payment to start the first phase of treatment for her son Hamzah, who has a neck injury that needs surgery. “I dreamed 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,” explained Sobhia.
Condensed from these original stories: