Cash assistance empowers refugees and asylum-seekers in Greece

UNHCR works with its Greece Cash Alliance partners to provide monthly cash assistance to refugees and asylum-seekers in Greece. Cash encourages self-reliance, provides dignity and allows choice. Refugees use cash to meet their most basic needs (food, clothes, hygiene, communication, transport and school supplies for children), while at the same time contributing to the local economy. Since April 2017, more than 49,000 refugees and asylum-seekers are estimated to have received cash assistance in Greece at least once.

Marking International Day of Peace with refugees in Thessaloniki

To mark International Day of Peace, 30 refugees enjoyed a free tour of the White Tower, the imposing seaside symbol of Thessaloniki. The visitors all live in apartments ijn Thessaloniki, Northern Greece, managed by Solidarity Now under ESTIA, the Emergency Support to Integration and Accommodation programme, which is implemented by UNHCR and funded by the European Commission.

Refugees give new life to abandoned buildings in Agia Eleni

Agia Eleni is a former youth hostel in Ioannina, Western Greece, that has been renovated by UNHCR in the freamework of ESTIA programme funded by the European Commission, helping to home around 500 refugees.

In Kilkis, Northern Greece, locals welcome refugee families

In Kilkis, a small city in northern Greece, families uprooted by conflict in Syria have found peace and a place to call home. The families, beneficiaries of the ESTIA programme that is funded by European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid, are accommodated in dignified conditions in apartments, managed by Omnes voluntary association and receive cash card assistance.

A Syrian Yezidi refugee family coping with uncertainty

Syrian Yezidi refugee family live in a flat in Athens through UNHCR's accommodation programme. This allows them to leave the refugee camp behind while they wait for clarity from the authorities on their asylum.

UNHCR expands cash card assistance programme for refugees in Northern Greece


In mid-February, UNHCR continued with the roll-out of its existing cash assistance programme in Northern Greece, as part of the ESTIA programme. UNHCR distributed 500 cash cards to 1,200 people staying in apartments and hotels in Greece’s Central Macedonia region.

UNHCR introduces cash card assistance for refugees in Chios

Greece: For refugees, an island of hope

On the tiny Greek island of Tilos, population 700, 10 families from war-torn Syria have found refuge and work and a sense of community. UNHCR and its partner Solidarity Now, with European Commission Funding support, have been providing accommodation and language and education classes for adults and children for almost a year. Many of the refugees –all of whom have been granted refugee status and have the right to work – say they want to stay on the Dodecanese island, and the islanders say they are honoured to host them.

Refugees give new life to abandoned buildings

On 5 May 2017, a new facility in Western Greece opened its doors to families fleeing war and persecution. Agia Eleni was renovated by UNHCR, with funding by the European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid, and transformed into a self-contained accommodation model, with capacity for about 500 people.

Jumaa Alo, a 52-year-old Syrian refugee from the town of Afrin, and his family were among the first group of refugees that arrived in Agia Eleni from Chios island. They found safety and a new home in this former children’s hostel.

Greek locals welcome refugee families

In Kilkis, a small town in northern Greece, families uprooted by conflict in Syria, have found peace and a place to call home. They gradually become part of the local community that had once welcomed refugees of Greek origin.
The families are accommodated in dignified conditions in apartments, managed by Omnes association, in collaboration with UNHCR’s partner Iliaktida.Housing and cash card assistance is funded by European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid

Cash card restores dignity for refugees in Greece

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, continues with the roll-out of a harmonized cash card assistance programme in Greece, as part of ESTIA. The programme helps asylum seekers cover their basic needs, enables the dignity of choice and restores confidence while supporting the local economy.

Marah finds refuge in Livadia

A small town in Central Greece sets a positive example for the reception and integration of refugees in host societies with respect and safety. In Livadia, thanks to the accommodation program implemented by UNHCR and the local Municipality, refugees like 8-year old Marah and her family, have the possibility to return to regularity and dream of a future without war and fear.