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CORE Works on the Ground To Distribute Prepaid Cash Assistance Cards To Ukrainian Refugees

Crisis response non-profit CORE (Community Organised Relief Effort) has launched a Ukraine humanitarian crisis cash assistance programme to provide digital cash assistance directly to Ukrainian refugees, empowering families to choose how to cover basic needs and safely relocate on their own terms.

The programme’s prepaid cash cards have been delivered by combining the resources of EML Payments, Mastercard, Tommy Humphreys and the Parker Foundation.

With over four million people displaced, humanitarian aid is urgently needed. Right now, 2,500 cards pre-loaded with €150 are being distributed to refugees, with the programme’s pilot stage working on the ground at border crossings between Poland and other neighbouring countries.

These funds will allow families to purchase essential supplies and obtain shelter during the 72-hour period typically spent in the region. After the initial pilot, CORE and its partners will provide thousands more prepaid cards to continue supporting refugees as this crisis unfolds.

CORE co-founder and CEO, Ann Lee
Ann Lee

“After lives have been upended so abruptly and violently, we want to give agency to Ukrainian families to make the best choices for themselves as they navigate this humanitarian crisis,” said CORE co-founder and CEO, Ann Lee.

“CORE is fully committed to supporting the needs of Ukrainian refugees as this crisis continues to unfold, and we will continue to work alongside local partners on the ground in Poland and other bordering countries to address immediate needs.”

Solveig Hatton, SVP of government engagement at Mastercard Europe
Solveig Hatton

“As the humanitarian emergency in the Ukraine continues to unfold, we are partnering with CORE and EML to quickly mobilise this prepaid card relief programme, which will disperse funding and humanitarian aid directly into the hand of refugees,” added Solveig Hatton, SVP of government engagement at Mastercard Europe.

“By delivering aid in the form of money on a card, we can provide payment security and flexibility to those most in need.”

General demographic information gleaned through the cash assistance programme will help identify migration trends, allowing CORE and Mastercard to anticipate future needs and respond quickly.

Funding for the programme was made possible through an initial investment from the Stichting Giustra International Foundation.

”EML is working with CORE, its founders Sean Penn and Ann Lee, and Mastercard to urgently help financially empower communities through and beyond the crisis in Ukraine,” said David Curneen, group COO at EML. “We’re passionate about ensuring that people who have had to flee disasters worldwide can rapidly access emergency funds in their time of need.”

In addition to the programme, CORE is also working with international and local partners to provide emergency relief supplies, such as hygiene kits and thermal blankets, as well as supporting community-based refugee centres in Poland and Romania as the influx of individuals fleeing continues to increase.

Frank Giustra, chair of the Stichting Giustra International Foundation
Frank Giustra

“The unprovoked Russian invasion of its neighbour has created a humanitarian disaster on a scale that we have not seen in Europe since World War II,” said Frank Giustra, chair of the Stichting Giustra International Foundation.

“Under these conditions, it is imperative to move quickly to help those suffering the most. This project promises to put money in the hands of those who need it most, and enable them to make decisions about what they need for themselves.

“We are calling on communities worldwide with an ask to make a donation to match ours, so that we can ensure as many people as possible receive the support they need.”

CORE joins the convoy of fintechs travelling to the distressed region to offer paramount financial services to those fleeing the crisis. Read more about The Fintech Times‘ coverage of the situation here.


  • Tyler is a fintech journalist with specific interests in online banking and emerging AI technologies. He began his career writing with a plethora of national and international publications.

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