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Binaa teams distributing daily portions of bread


Spanning a 140-day period, the project aims to respond to food security needs in Northern Syria and alleviate conditions for displaced people as the winter season approaches  

It’s Northern Syria, where, over the past ten years, more than two million displaced people have settled and thousands have been forced to seek refuge and live in randomly dispersed camps. Here, humanitarian organizations relentlessly work to bridge the endlessly widening gaps in the wall of humanitarian needs, only to confront increasingly greater needs every day. 

As part of those efforts, BINAA for Development launched an initiative to fulfil the daily bread needs in 16 camps in the areas of Al-Bab, Akhtarin, Jarablus and Ghandoura, in the northern countryside of Aleppo. BINAA’s teams began the distribution process at the beginning of August; it is scheduled to continue until the end of January. 

A. Al-Khatib, a field officer at BINAA and a member of the bread distribution team, spoke to us about this project. “We are now at the bread distribution point in Shaberan camp, where we are supervising the distribution of bread to families living in the tents. We’re doing this within the framework of this project, which will span five and a half months. The distribution team provides the basic daily bread needs to all residents in the targeted camps on a daily basis.”

Distributing bread to beneficiaries using the ecard

The Project aims to support 8,524 displaced families. The teams currently visit the camps and distribute bread five days a week. On Thursday, two portions are distributed to cover Friday.

In the Jarablus camp in Aleppo, M. Khair, a displaced person living in the camp, expressed gratitude. “We thank them for securing the bread ... because people in the camps really need it.” Mr. Khair took the opportunity to emphasize other vital needs. “The camp suffers from a lack of  basic necessities for residents, such as heating, health units, roads, and schools.” He said that he hoped that these needs, too, would be met for camp residents as soon as possible. 

On his part, and based on his field experience and knowledge of the living conditions in the camps, Mr. Al-Khatib stressed the importance of the project for the residents, saying,  “We felt great approval from the camp residents for implementing this project and providing this basic food item, as it relieves them of the stress of buying bread from the market or from bakeries located far from the tents, especially since the nearest bakery is five to seven kilometres from the camp.” The distance is compounded by the poor conditions of the roads, in addition to other difficulties imposed by the winter season. 

Mr. Al-Khatib added that “the camps need these projects, especially as we approach the winter season and people have other living burdens. Providing free bread on a daily basis has a positive impact, as residents can use the money they spend on bread to buy other necessities that are equally crucial.” He believes that “these projects are useful particularly for displaced families in the informal camps, which are usually unsupported and have no administrations or other entities to monitor their needs.”

"Providing free bread on a daily basis has a positive impact, as residents can use the money they spend on bread to buy other necessities that are equally crucial," A. Al-Khatib, a field officer at BINAA

BINAA implements successive campaigns to distribute bread within a specific time frame, assigning specialized teams to review the feasibility and effectiveness of the project. The teams employ case studies and statistics to provide a continuously improved service that aligns needs with the available resources and capabilities. 

The Organization has implemented several similar projects, including one funded by the Syrian Cross-Border Humanitarian Fund (SCHF), in which 19 camps, including 47,000 people, received free bread allocations for 180 days via 27 distribution points. As part of this campaign, more than 3.4 million packs of bread were distributed. 

Standing in front of his tent’s door, Mr. Khair explained that bread is only one of a multitude of necessities required by camp residents. For this reason, BINAA for Development continues to expand the scope of its projects to meet all the vital needs of the displaced communities, including services and awareness campaigns, providing job opportunities and building capacities, and offering the residents a path to contribute to building better lives.