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Putting a smile on refugee children in Turkey

Almost half of the 3.5 million refugees currently living in Turkey are children. Just like their parents, these refugee children are struggling to build new lives, often amid hardship.

The ESSN programme is run by the World Food Programme and the Turkish Red Crescent, with the help of the Turkish government and funded by the European Union through the “Facility for refugees in Turkey”. The largest ever humanitarian programme funded by the EU, the ESSN provides cash to the most vulnerable refugees every month through a debit card. This allows the most vulnerable refugees to meet their most pressing basic needs, and helps to restore a sense of normality.

Three out of every five people supported by ESSN are children. By March 2018, the number of ESSN beneficiaries under the age of 18 had reached over 764 000, some 61 percent of the total ESSN beneficiaries. After its first year, the programme now assists over 1.3 million refugees in Turkey.

Here are some of the children whose lives became happier after their families started receiving monthly cash assistance through ESSN.

Story by Deniz Akkus, Senior Communications Associate, WFP Turkey

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