Dignity Market Part 2 – How does it work?

Who to offer the food to in Nicosia

We can’t offer everyone food and in any event we don’t want to. We need to target resources at those in greatest need to help them when times are at their toughest.

We are able to identify the group who are without any support by seeing the date they left the state reception centre at Pournara camp. That is where all asylum seekers have to register and then apply for cash support.

When they leave Pournara Reception Centre, we know it can take 2-3 months for the cash to start coming through so we made the Dignity Market available to everyone for the 3 months after they left the camp.

We have estimated that €7 per person per week is a helpful addition to their nutritional needs and enables us to serve up to 250 people per week.

A typical basket for an individual

Creating the Dignity Market

The ground floor of the Dignity Centre was ideal for the Market. The room at the front serves as a large reception area and we had to convert the room at the back from a classroom to a shop with welcome area, display and storage.

We know from running shops on refugee camps in Greece the kinds of things people want – cooking basics like rice, pasta, and cooking oil, tinned fish, some fruits and vegetables, culturally appropriate items like semolina, small treats and simple hygiene items. So we did a huge shop.

We started the conversion on the Tuesday and the Market was ready to open 7 days later.

How does the Dignity Market work

People are invited to register for the shop and issued with a shopping card that has their Dignity Centre membership number and the expiry date for using the shop.

The shopping card is only valid for one day a week to make sure we have even numbers of customers on each day. We have a different colour card for each day to help with managing eligibility.

We print out a list of customers for that day and tick them off when they’ve shopped to help control who is using the shop. We have volunteers who may only be there 2 weeks and you will inevitably get some people who try to game the system.

Every item in the shop is priced with a number of points where €1 = 100 points and we give every adult 700 points to spend each week (every child has 350).

They choose what they want and every purchase is recorded on the Loyverse app which is free to use for some great functionality. It allows you to track what you are selling and analyse all the data from the shopping.

See Part 3 in our series that describes why we use a points based system.

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