Mohammed, Aziza and their five children live in an apartment in the outskirts of Karditsa, a small city in central Greece. In the back yard of their new home, Mohammed created a small garden that he tends to daily.
UNHCR in cooperation with the Greek Government, NGOs and local authorities including the Municipality of Karditsa, provides urban accommodation and cash assistance to refugees and asylum seekers in Greece through ESTIA, the Emergency Support to Integration and Accommodation programme which is funded by the European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO). The Urban accommodation aspect of the programme allows refugees and asylum seekers to have a normal daily life and facilitates their access to services, including education and the eventual integration of those who will remain in the country while the cash assistance aspect of the programme restores dignity and empowers refugees and asylum seekers by allowing them to choose how to cover their basic daily needs while at the same time contributes directly to the economy of the host community through the purchase of goods and services. By the end of December 2018, UNHCR had created more than 27,000 places in the accommodation scheme as part of the ESTIA programme including some 300 places in apartments in the city of Karditsa, central Greece, under the coordination of the local municipality, through ANKA.