By Jenni Jeskanen, Finnish Red Cross

It’s a 40-minute walk to the closest supermarket for Syrian family Barishan, 30, her husband Rashid Musa, 34, and their three children.  They live in Nea Kavala camp in northern Greece and are among the people who have received a Red Cross cash card to enable them to buy what they need.

Armed with a shopping list, the family picked up essential groceries so they can cook their own meals and make sure the kids are getting the balanced diet they need.

Barishan and her family where forced to flee Aleppo as war raged. They have been in Nea Kavala for 14 months, half of which they had to spend in a tent before moving into a container.

Every month, 320 Swiss francs (290 euros) is loaded on the card as part of the Hellenic Red Cross and International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) cash scheme that gives people the freedom to buy what they need most.

“The money is only enough for us to buy what’s strictly necessary, but we’ll manage,” she said.

There are several pots and pans in the container that the family has received from the Red Cross, but no oven or hotplate. Barishan prepares every meal on a small camping stove that they brought with them from their time in the tent.

“Cooking is difficult but I’m used to it,” Barishan said.

“We’re coping – it’s better than the situation in Syria. For me, it’s enough that my children are safe here.”

The family’s aim is to make it to Denmark where Barishan’s brother lives. But in the meantime,  she is hoping her nine-year-old son Mohamad can get access to education so he can learn how to write.

“As a mother, I want a better life for my children. I just want them to be happy,” she said.

The Red Cross provides humanitarian assistance to migrants throughout Greece. It offers primary health care services, psychosocial support, cash assistance, food, clothes, hygiene items and other necessities. Red Cross operations in Greece are funded by the IFRC’s emergency appeal, which includes financial support from the EU’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations section (ECHO) and other donors.