Syrian Refugees In Lebanon Use Vouchers To Shop For Food
Fatima's house in near Homs was burned down. She fled with her four kids to Arsal in the Bekaa where she now shares a house with four other Syrian families. She is at one of the local shops in Arsal buying the food she needs using WFP’s vouchers.
The voucher she says has given her the freedom to choose what she needs in order to cook for her family. The shop owner was happy to see her come in too.
With the vouchers, Fatima can share daily meals with her local hosts.
Rima pointing towards her hometown. She fled Al Qusayr village near Homs because of the fighting and learned later that her house was flattened. She crossed on foot at night. Her kids were screaming and calling God’s name. Fatima, her daughter was shaking all the way to Arsal, she said.
Rima now lives with a host family in Arsal in the Bekaa, but she can buy her own food with WFP’s vouchers and pay their generosity back.
Some families in Arsal live in tents. They too are using WFP’s vouchers to buy food from nearby shops in the village.
Thousands of Syrians fled to Lebanon during the past months, around 9,000 of them are in the Bekaa Valley. They have lost their homes, livelihoods, and in many cases family members. Some have been in exile for over a year now. They arrived to Lebanon with few assets and little cash and have now depleted their savings.
Arsal is one of the villages of the Bekaa valley that has offered them more than its poor inhabitants can possibly handle. WFP, with its partner, the Danish Refugee Council, is there to help them and their Lebanese hosts get through this hardship. The food agency is providing them with food vouchers as part of a regional emergency in Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq. The voucher is an innovative way that ensures vulnerable Syrians can go to local shops and buy their own food as and when they need. This way, they are also helping the local economy. Their stories are heartbreaking but they carry also a lot of resilience, dignity, and hope.