WFP: E-food card brings choice to Syrian refugees in camps in Turkey

TUR_201809_WFP_EFood_Adana-NazireUzenZahra remembers clearly the moment that made her realise it was time to leave their home in Syria. ‘’My daughter Marwa was 3 years old. When I saw her sleeping and holding onto a piece of bread, I decided we had to leave.” That was 2013 and some hard times followed. But now, Zahra’s family is living in a camp in south-eastern Turkey and food is not a problem. They choose the food items they want and can cook the things they are used to.

‘’We eat a lot of rice, bulgur wheat, eggs and dairy products like milk and yoghurt,’’ says Zahra. She explains that her family love kibbeh — a mixture of lean ground beef, bulgur wheat and seasonings, and shakriya — a yoghurt stew with rice, egg and meat.

‘’I am able to cook one of them very month,’’ said Zahra.

Through the card, WFP provides a monthly allowance, amounting to 50 Turkish Liras (currently around 8 Euros) per person in each family. The e-food card allows them to purchase the food they want from the supermarkets set up inside the camps.

WFP supports more than 135,000 Syrians like Zahra’s family in the ten camps in the southeast of Turkey which are run by the Turkish government. The camps are home to approximately 212,000 Syrian refugees in the region.

On the request of the Turkish government, the World Food Programme (WFP) began assisting Syrian refugees in the camps in October 2012. Joining forces with the Turkish Red Crescent (TRC) and the Turkish Government’s Emergency and Disaster Management Presidency (AFAD), WFP helped put in place the electronic food-assistance programme Zahra and her family now use.

Ahmed’s family receives a total of 500 Turkish Liras per month through the e-food card. ‘’I don’t know what I would do to feed my children without the e-food card,’’ says father Ahmed and added ‘’Many thanks to the donors who have stood with us. No other helped us like this.’

In 2018, the “e-food card programme” is supported by Australia, Denmark, France, Germany, Hainan Airlines Group, Japan, Kuwait, Mexico, Norway, the Republic of Korea and the USA.

The programme assisted almost 140,000 people every month in 2018. Being able to shop from the markets set up inside the camp gives a sense of normalcy to the Syrian families.

‘’The card is much more better than being given food items. Now we are free to choose what we want to eat every day,’’ says Ahmed.

The e-food card programme allows Syrian families in camps to choose and buy nutritious food in regular supermarkets that have been set up in the camps. The project is implemented jointly by WFP and the TRC, under the coordination of AFAD. Learn more about WFP in Turkey.