PHOTO ESSAY: “We got the vouchers at just the right time. Winter is harsh here.”

Winter clothing e-vouchers are providing warmth and dignity for Syrian children, while also supporting the local economy. Winters in Syria are harsh and for children displaced from their homes it can be a struggle to survive. Children across Syria ...

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Winter clothing e-vouchers are providing warmth and dignity for Syrian children, while also supporting the local economy.

Winters in Syria are harsh and for children displaced from their homes it can be a struggle to survive. Children across Syria are living in homes without proper insulation or adequate heating. Their families cannot afford basic supplies like winter clothes.  Last winter UNICEF launched an e-voucher initiative to provide 57,000 internally displaced children in Syria with a full set of winter clothes.

On 22 January, families of 12,000 children in the coastal cities of Tartous and Lattakia will receive vouchers similar to ATM cards, redeemable at selected shops to buy a full set of winter clothes for their children. UNICEF provides each selected shop with a mobile phone and a Bluetooth printer, which allow them to place the orders of beneficiaries, apply the transactions and update the database of available items. The e-vouchers give parents flexibility in choosing the right items and sizes for their children. It also contributes to their empowerment and sense of dignity while supporting the local economy by creating demand for local suppliers. Location: Tartous & Lattakia, Syria Date: 22-24 January 2017 As temperatures drop, UNICEF continues the distribution of e-vouchers to vulnerable families in the coastal cities of Tartous and Lattakia in Syria. Families of 12,000 children in the two cities will receive vouchers similar to ATM cards, redeemable at selected shops, to buy a full set of winter clothes for their children. A set includes a jacket, a woolen sweater, a thermal outfit, warm winter trousers, woolen hat, scarf, gloves, socks and a pair of winter boots. UNICEF provides each selected shop with a mobile phone and a Bluetooth printer, which allows them to place the orders of beneficiaries, apply the transactions and update their database of available items. As prices, inflation and unemployment increase, families in Syria are unable to afford the most basic items like warm clothing for their children. In particular, displaced children living in shelters have no protection from the cold. The e-vouchers give parents flexibility in choosing the right items and sizes for their children. It also contributes to their empowerment and sense of dignity while supporting the local economy by creating demand for local suppliers.Photo: Zeinah, Syria, 2017. A parent uses a UNICEF provided e-voucher to purchase a full set of winter clothes for their children.

We partnered with 33 stores in Syria and provided families with e-vouchers to buy a full set of winter clothes for their children. The e-vouchers work similarly to an ATM card and provide a jacket, a woollen sweater, a thermal outfit, warm winter trousers, a woollen hat, scarf, gloves, socks and a pair of winter boots for each child.

UN047408 cropp(1)Photo: Hasen, Syria 2016. Khaled 1, smiles while trying on his new winter outfit, picked by his mother.

Khaled (1) arrived to the store in Qamishli with his mother and sister to buy winter clothes using an e-voucher provided by UNICEF. Khaled’s mother told us “We received these vouchers at the right time. Winters are harsh here.” For Khaled’s mother these vouchers have provided her children with the supplies they need to keep warm this winter, but they have also empowered her to choose the style and size she would like most for them.

On 29 December 2016, 4 year-old Mohammad holds his new jeans and sweater at a clothing store in Qamishli. “Since my husband lost his job, it’s become increasingly difficult for us to provide for our two sons,” said Mohammad’s mother. As prices, inflation and unemployment increase, internally displaced families in Syria cannot afford basic items like warm clothing for their children. Most of them live in shelters with inadequate heating and protection from the cold. E-vouchers help parents to provide warm clothing for their children and empowers them to choose the color, size and items they would like to buy. Date: 29-12-2016 Location: Qamishli, Hasakah Governorate UNICEF started the distribution of e-vouchers to the most vulnerable families in Qamishli, in northeastern Syria, to buy winter clothes for their children. Families receive vouchers similar to ATM cards, and use them at a network of 31 stores in Syria to buy a full set of children’s clothes for winter. A set includes a jacket, a woolen sweater, a thermal outfit, warm winter trousers, woolen hat, scarf, gloves, socks and a pair of winter boots. As prices, inflation and unemployment increase, internally displaced families in Syria cannot afford basic items like warm clothing for their children. Most of them live in shelters with inadequate heating and protection from the cold. Not only do e-vouchers help parents to provide warm clothing for their children, they also empower them to choose the color, size and items they want to buy for their children. This winter, UNICEF aims to provide 57,000 children in Tartus, Lattakia, Homs, Damascus and Qamishli Governorates with winter clothes through the e-voucher programme.Photo: Hasen, Syria 2016. Mohammad 4, has picked out his new clothes.

As unemployment and inflation rise, families in Syria cannot afford to pay for basic supplies like winter clothes for their children. As Mohammad’s mother told us “Since my husband lost his job, it’s become increasingly difficult for us to provide for our two sons.” With vouchers provided by UNICEF her two boys received the supplies they need for winter and Mohammad (4) got to pick out his own clothes.

On 29 December 2016, 5 year-old Thiyaa came with his parents to a clothing store in Qamishli to buy new winter clothes for him and his two siblings using e-vouchers they received from UNICEF. Families receive vouchers similar to ATM cards, and use them at a network of 31 stores in Syria to buy a full set of winter clothes for their children. A kit includes a jacket, a woolen sweater, a thermal outfit, warm winter trousers, woolen hat, scarf, gloves, socks and a pair of winter boots. Date: 29-12-2016 Location: Qamishli, Hasakah Governorate UNICEF started the distribution of e-vouchers to the most vulnerable families in Qamishli, in northeastern Syria, to buy winter clothes for their children. Families receive vouchers similar to ATM cards, and use them at a network of 31 stores in Syria to buy a full set of children’s clothes for winter. A set includes a jacket, a woolen sweater, a thermal outfit, warm winter trousers, woolen hat, scarf, gloves, socks and a pair of winter boots. As prices, inflation and unemployment increase, internally displaced families in Syria cannot afford basic items like warm clothing for their children. Most of them live in shelters with inadequate heating and protection from the cold. Not only do e-vouchers help parents to provide warm clothing for their children, they also empower them to choose the color, size and items they want to buy for their children. This winter, UNICEF aims to provide 57,000 children in Tartus, Lattakia, Homs, Damascus and Qamishli Governorates with winter clothes through the e-voucher programme.Photo: Hasen, Syria 2016. Shahed 8, is happy to pick out his new winter clothes.

Shahed (8) picks out his own sweater as his father explained rising costs make it more difficult to provide for his family. “It’s getting more difficult to provide for five children with rising prices. These vouchers allowed me to buy winter clothes for all of them.”

On 22 January, 10 year-old Yousef tries out a new sweater he picked out at a shop in the coastal city of Tartous. “I like the color red so I want to get all my new clothes in red,” said Yousef who came with his parents and brother to choose a new set of winter clothes using an e-voucher they received from UNICEF. Location: Tartous & Lattakia, Syria Date: 22-24 January 2017 As temperatures drop, UNICEF continues the distribution of e-vouchers to vulnerable families in the coastal cities of Tartous and Lattakia in Syria. Families of 12,000 children in the two cities will receive vouchers similar to ATM cards, redeemable at selected shops, to buy a full set of winter clothes for their children. A set includes a jacket, a woolen sweater, a thermal outfit, warm winter trousers, woolen hat, scarf, gloves, socks and a pair of winter boots. UNICEF provides each selected shop with a mobile phone and a Bluetooth printer, which allows them to place the orders of beneficiaries, apply the transactions and update their database of available items. As prices, inflation and unemployment increase, families in Syria are unable to afford the most basic items like warm clothing for their children. In particular, displaced children living in shelters have no protection from the cold. The e-vouchers give parents flexibility in choosing the right items and sizes for their children. It also contributes to their empowerment and sense of dignity while supporting the local economy by creating demand for local suppliers.Photo: Zeinah, Syria, 2017. Yousef and his father are both happy as Yousef tries on his new red jumper.

“I like the colour red so I want to get all my new clothes in red,” said Yousef who came with his parents and brother to choose a new set of winter clothes using an e-voucher they received from UNICEF.

On 22 January, 10 year-old Leen came with her mother to a pre-selected shop in Tartous to pick out new winter clothes. “I still don’t know what I want to buy,” she said. “I’m checking all the colors and styles to choose the ones I like the most,” she added with a grin. The e-vouchers give parents flexibility in choosing the right items and sizes for their children. It also contributes to their empowerment and sense of dignity while supporting the local economy by creating demand for local suppliers. Location: Tartous & Lattakia, Syria Date: 22-24 January 2017 As temperatures drop, UNICEF continues the distribution of e-vouchers to vulnerable families in the coastal cities of Tartous and Lattakia in Syria. Families of 12,000 children in the two cities will receive vouchers similar to ATM cards, redeemable at selected shops, to buy a full set of winter clothes for their children. A set includes a jacket, a woolen sweater, a thermal outfit, warm winter trousers, woolen hat, scarf, gloves, socks and a pair of winter boots. UNICEF provides each selected shop with a mobile phone and a Bluetooth printer, which allows them to place the orders of beneficiaries, apply the transactions and update their database of available items. As prices, inflation and unemployment increase, families in Syria are unable to afford the most basic items like warm clothing for their children. In particular, displaced children living in shelters have no protection from the cold. The e-vouchers give parents flexibility in choosing the right items and sizes for their children. It also contributes to their empowerment and sense of dignity while supporting the local economy by creating demand for local suppliers.Photo: Zeinah, Syria, 2017. Leen is having a difficult time deciding what to buy.

Winter is a real threat for children in Syria. That’s why it’s important to make sure they have the supplies they need to survive. But the e-voucher programme is special as it allows children to make the choice for themselves. Sometimes that can be difficult too as Leen explained “I still don’t know what to buy. I’m checking all the colours and styles to choose the ones I like the most.”

The e-voucher programme is keeping children warm and safe from the cold while empowering them and their families to choose the styles and sizes they like the best. Clothing e-vouchers are providing them with a sense of dignity and contributing to the local economy.