After fleeing Syria with her two young daughters, Hanaa was relieved to reach safety in Jordan.

“I couldn’t stay [in Syria] as there was no food or electricity, and everything was in ruins,” she says. 

But in a new country, Hanaa had no idea how she would support her family. Her husband had been killed in an airstrike near their home, meaning she was now the children’s sole carer and breadwinner. 

In Jordan, it’s difficult for refugee women to find legitimate employment. Of the 150,000 work permits issued to Syrian refugees in Jordan, only four per cent go to women.

So refugees in Hanaa’s situation are often forced to make heartbreaking decisions. They might cut back on their own food so their children can eat, or take on debt that leaves them vulnerable to exploitation. 

Fortunately, Hanaa, 27, was able to receive funds from the UNHCR via its cash assistance program. This enabled her to cover her basic living costs in Jordan and provide a safe home for her children.

UNHCR believes that monthly financial support, covering the basics, is the most effective way to improve the lives of female refugees and their children. Women are empowered to manage their own finances and make the right choices for their family’s particular needs.

For Hanaa, these payments are a true lifeline.

“Without this help, I don’t know how difficult my situation would be.” 

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