Two years after its launch, the largest humanitarian relief program in European Union (EU) history is supporting around 1.4 million refugees in Turkey. The scheme is funded entirely from the EU’s Facility for Refugees in Turkey (FRIT), generously supported by EU citizens through the Member States’ contribution. Turkey is home to the largest refugee population in the world, currently nearly 4 million refugees, the majority of whom are from Syria. The
Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) program provides the most vulnerable of these refugee families with cash assistance every month. The impact of this support
is now being presented to EU audiences through The #IncredibleOrdinary shop in Paris, Milan, Warsaw, Berlin and Amsterdam – an experiential exhibit showcasing the stories of eight refugee families who benefit from the program. In their own words, the families explain how a seemingly ordinary item, made possible thanks to ESSN support, had incredible meaning for them.
With humanitarian funding of €1 billion so far from the European Commission and EU Member States, the project is implemented by the World Food Program (WFP) in partnership with the Turkish Red Crescent and supported by the Turkish government. Since the ESSN program started in 2016, the number of beneficiary parents withdrawing their children from school has dropped by more than 50%, according to preliminary data from a new WFP report. By providing the most vulnerable families with a debit card, the ESSN program allows them to pay rent and bills or choose which food to eat.