ROAD PAVING PROJECTS BY “BINAA” … A BENEFIT FOR ALL
Over the past ten years, the economic situation is Syria has been in constant decline. A country that once overflowed with resources and whose people never knew hunger as they managed, overtime, to earn their livelihood through hard work, is in a completely different state today. The United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs recently said that the number of Syrians living below the poverty line has exceeded 90% of the country’s population. He also pointed out that many of them have been obliged to take difficult decisions in order to meet their basic needs.
Realizing the needs arising from this difficult reality, Binaa for Development took the initiative to improve the living conditions of Syrians, especially the displaced.
Mohammad A. is one of the displaced Syrian youth who have benefited from such initiatives implemented by BINAA. The thirty-three-year-old man describes his situation as follows: “I provide for both my family and my brother’s family. We are currently residing in the Al-Sheikh Bahr camp”, an IDP camp in the Northern part of Idlib.
Sitting next to a long trench extending along the road where construction teams from BINAA were conducting maintenance work, the displaced young man from rural Aleppo spoke to us for a few minutes during his break time. Both the suit he was wearing and his calloused hands mirrored his commitment and the effort he puts into his work. He shared with us the story of how he joined the crew and highlighted the significance of cash-for-work programs, describing them as “important opportunities.” He adds: “I applied for the project, and they accepted me. I consider it a great opportunity for myself and other young people in the camp.”
Mohammad’s situation was quite challenging in light of the general conditions and the deteriorating economic situation. Despite his previous job in the field of trade, “after displacement, we were left with nothing”, he explains with a sigh.
Today, Mohammad is able to secure income for both families; but, more importantly he has become a partner in providing services to his community through his work in paving and repairing roads.
Under the scorching sun, members of the team follow up on the construction of a rainwater drainage channel in order to protect the newly-built roads and to prevent water from accumulating in a certain area. This project is included in the list of early recovery projects and contributes to protecting camps from floods and facilitating the movement of people and cars.
Everyone, including Mohammad, has been noticing these positive changes: “The areas benefited greatly from the project…It also helped us avoid disastrous floods. Previously, there were no roads at all. One had to walk between 10 or 15 km to buy supplies. Now that new roads have been paved, one notices that movement has increased. Anything you want is now available. New blacksmith shops and pharmacies have opened…The project has indeed revived the area.”
Binaa’s initiatives now include emergency responses related to repairing main roads that have been affected or damaged due to floods and rain in rural Idlib. Work started last summer to prepare the area for the winter season. It contributes to the enhancement of road safety, decreasing by that accidents, traffic jams, road blocks caused by rain accumulation as well as to the prevention of floods and mud holes.
The road maintenance project currently underway is a part in a series of projects to construct, restore and rehabilitate roads in rural Idlib. It is implemented by Binaa, which is also working on other initiatives related to restoring unfinished houses, responding to health-related needs and providing other relief services. What is remarkable is the fact that all of these projects are linked, one way or another, to the cash-for-work programme.
Binaa for Development is a grassroots organisation whose team is mainly composed of members of the local community. This allows them to identify local needs and understand difficulties experienced by both the displaced and the locals.