MOHAMMED AL-AHMAD: THE PAVING PROJECT MADE ME THE BREADWINNER FOR MY CHILDREN AGAIN
“We fled towards Saraqeb. After a short while, the bombing campaign expanded to include Saraqeb as well and here we ran out of choices ... We then headed north to the Sheikh Bahr area... We heard about this area but we’ve never been here before. At first, we settled in a field belonging to some farmers until we can find a place where we can be alone," with these sad words, Mr. Mohammed al-Ahmad started telling his story about the journey he made from his village of Tel Cressian in Idlib countryside to Saraqeb and then to Al-Jabal camp, where he settled with his family of six.
Soon after that, the little money he had was evaporating quickly, along with his hope to put a roof over his family’s head: “We went from one field to another looking for a place to stay. Everyone was asking for more and more money. Before we came here, we had sold our crops, and spent whatever money we had on housing and rents. Soon after, our situation came near collapse and we no longer had the ability to go on."
Mohammed is one of the beneficiaries of the Binaa for Development initiative to improve the living conditions of IDPs in northern Syria camps. His family was among those to move to Al Jabal camp: "A team from Binaa for Development came and was collecting the names of people who had no place to stay. Luckily, my family was chosen, and after four months we relocated to the camp. Of course, we had our fears that the camp would be crowded or not suitable enough for living but thank God the camp appeared to be well-organized and there was no mud." Mohammed added.
"Thank God we were saved from the burden of paying rent and the winter expenses... They gave us stoves and provided heating fuel, and we hope they will support us in other needs," - Mohammed al-Ahmad, IDP living in Al Jabal camp
Yet one of the most important elements of the initiative was to provide employment opportunities for the displaced by allowing them to participate in the projects and programs implemented in their camps. To this end, and as part of its cash for work program, Binaa for Development launched a project to pave the roads of the camps where most of the workers were selected from its residents. Mohammed said: "Sometime later, job opportunities were announced in the camp for the unemployed... the project was paving roads of the camp. The paving work made me the breadwinner for my children again. Now I have a job and an income to spend from. The paving project was, in turn, helping to improve the living conditions in the camp, especially if, God forbid, flood and mud were to come again. It will help drain the rainwater, and it will make it easier for the elderly to move within the camp."
"The paving work made me the breadwinner for my children again. Now I have a job and an income to spend from". - Mohammed al-Ahmad