“BREAD IS SECURED… AND THE QUALITY IS GOOD”, THANKS TO THE BREAD DISTRIBUTION PROJECT IN THE NORTHERN SYRIA IDP CAMPS
Even the most well-organized person can forget to pack certain necessary items when embarking on a trip. But imagine fleeing bombings at a moment’s notice: What do you bring? How do you carry it? How long will it be before you can return? And will you even be able return?
This is how millions of Syrians departed their homes, leaving behind their houses, their possessions – and their sources of livelihood. Without such livelihood sources, securing basic foodstuffs, especially bread, becomes a daily challenge. This has been an ongoing struggle for IDP families.
Abu Subhi (47 years old) is the breadwinner for his family. He and his family of ten were displaced to a camp in the Aleppo countryside. He describes the living conditions, five years since the family’s arrival in the camp: “We can’t go anywhere; we don’t have the means for that. Our situation is bad... no job opportunities...no chance to work and be able to support myself on my own.”
For Abu Subhi, the major difficulty is his inability to secure food for his family on a long-term basis. For one or two days, it is manageable. Abu Subhi says, “If I need oil, I can ask my neighbor to lend me some, but only if I know that I can return it tomorrow. But when this situation lasts for four months... How do I manage?”.
Indeed, Abu Subhi was not able to manage. Neither were thousands of the other internally displaced persons living in the camps. But this situation began to change when BINAA for Development initiated a project to distribute bread to families in these camps.
Funded by the Syria Cross-border Humanitarian Fund (SCHF), the initiative successfully distributed free bread to the most vulnerable families, at the rate of one 800g pack of bread daily to each family of five members or less, or two packs to each family with more than five members. The distribution of free bread will continue for a period of 130 days approximately.
“Bread is a basic necessity,” explained Ibrahim Al-Khatib, a team leader at BINAA and field officer for the bread distribution project in the Al-Bab and Qabasin camps.
"We were able to provide this item for the residents, thus relieving them of the burden of buying it from the market. The nearest bakery is five to seven kilometers from the camp, which makes it nearly impossible to get there and buy bread every day; We are approaching winter, and people are facing many other problems ... providing bread at least eases their financial burden. They can use the money they would spend on bread to buy other basic necessities.”
Abu Subhi agrees. “Bread now comes to the camp. This is a good aid and we don’t have to travel long distances to reach the bakery. Bread is secured. It is there every day…and it is of good quality. It is close to our home. This, thank God, is a good thing.”
Certainly, humans do not live by bread alone. In addition to the bread distribution project, BINAA implements a wide range of humanitarian, service, and awareness programs in northern Syria, with the general aim of improving living conditions in the camps and the affected areas in Northern Syria. BINAA works to provide opportunities for empowerment, training, and capacity building, thus offering residents hope for a better life in the future.