WFP aimed to reach some 37,000 Syrian refugees in Turkey with food vouchers, which they can use to buy fresh meat and vegetables at local shops like this one. Copyright: WFP/Christina Hobbs
Syrian families living at the Harran camp in Turkey began receiving electronic food cards last month, allowing them to buy their own food at local supermarkets. Meat, fruit, vegetables and spices are just some of the things they can buy with the cards. To find out how the programme is helping families at Harran, we talked to three Syrian mothers who were shopping for food.
HARRAN—Syrian families living at the Harran camp in Turkey are now able to do their own grocery shopping thanks to electronic food cards provided to them last month by WFP and the Turkish Red Crescent.
The cards, which are credited with 80 Turkish Lira per person (about US $45.00) and recharged every month, allow them to buy meat, vegetables, spices tea and oils at the town’s three supermarkets. It’s enough money for families to eat a balanced diet, cooking many of the same things they used to eat at home.
To find out how the food cards have improved life for families at the camp, we went to the local supermarket and talked to three Syrian mothers while they were shopping for food.
Shallots and eggs
Umraya Zeim was at the market to buy fresh shallots and eggs to make an omlette-style dish that her children love. “It’s a simple meal that we always used to eat before the war,” she says. Umraya also bought plenty of fresh fruit, which isn’t ordinarily part of WFP food rations. ”We were grateful for the hot meals provided when we first arrived at the camp, but it’s just not the same as being able to cook for yourself,” she says.
Lentils and veggies
Fatima Samman, a mother of five, had a basket full of bulgar wheat, green lentils and pickled vegetables. She said that her husband was on a strict diet after undergoing heart surgery, and needed to eat light. “He got very weak with travel to the camp. I’m happy to be able to make the things he needs for his health,” she says. Fatima added that she’s careful about what she buys, as food is more expensive in Turkey than it is in Syria.
Luna Nashef was choosing vegetables to make Ma’kali, a lightly-fried dish, for her husband and children. After fleeing their home, her family lived on dry food for an entire month while they waited to cross the border. She says that being able to cook again, with fresh produce she buys at the market, was a tremendous relief. Deciding what goes on the menu is a family affair that her children take an active part in.