Camp Maintenance as a Lifesaving Service for Displaced Syrians

In northeast Syria, over 2.1 million people, including children, elderly, and people with disabilities, depend on humanitarian assistance.  

Blumont is carrying out lifesaving work in displacement camps , which house some of the 600,000 internally displaced people in the region. [1] 

Under the Shelter and Food Emergency Response (SAFER III) program, our camp coordination and camp management efforts include working with other NGOs to cover gaps and meet the community’s needs; distributing key household items, such as cooking oil and heaters; and providing protection and assistance services that help people amidst the challenges of displacement.     

Abd Issa is a site technician who supports SAFER’s camp maintenance work and resides in a displacement camp.

An important aspect of delivering this support is camp maintenance—ensuring that residents and our team can move through sites and access services safely. Funded by USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, SAFER maintains camps and informal settlements by caring for aspects of the physical environment, including fences, water systems, and lighting. In 2023, SAFER’s camp maintenance activities helped more than 39,000 people in northeast Syria.     

Maintaining camps and informal settlements is difficult, especially given often harsh conditions in the region. Teams providing this support include displaced residents who are contributing their talents and experience to help the community.  

Khalil, who lives in a displacement camp, said that repairs to his mother’s tent not only provided relief from the elements, but also eased his concerns for her well-being. “My mother’s tent wore out over three years, with cracks and holes making it unsuitable, especially during rain,” he explained. Khalil moved his mother into his own tent for her safety. But once the SAFER team began regular repairs, “she could finally rest without fear of water seeping in. It was more than just a repair; it restored our peace of mind,” he said. 

Adula is a community leader who volunteers as a voice for her neighbors, collecting and communicating their concerns with our team. When she shared that residents reported leaks and recurring malfunctions in the latrines and kitchens, the SAFER team quickly responded. Adula was impressed by the rapid response. “I commend their efforts to immediately address issues, such as maintenance of the water network and responding to our feedback,” she said. Our team understands that acting fast can minimize discomfort and make residents feel at ease. Efforts also show that teams are listening and responsive to the community, which helps to build trust.  

Teams ensures latrines and kitchens are regularly maintained, including repairing doors and fixing water leaks.

Dhaif, also a leader for his sector of the camp, knows that regularly maintained latrines keep people safe and healthy. In addition to bringing community concerns to our teams, he also makes an effort to keep the community updated about upcoming maintenance and disruptions. “The maintenance team not only sustains essential services but also elevates the overall quality of our lives within the camp, serving as a beacon of hope in challenging circumstances,” he said. 

The SAFER program does more than provide lifesaving services and camp maintenance. Our team also focuses on providing displaced people opportunities to work. Residents can use their skills to earn money by conducting maintenance and other work in the camps alongside our SAFER team.  

Abd Issa is a camp resident who has found work with SAFER maintaining tents. Each stitch he makes is a shield against the weather, a restoration of privacy, and a foundation for rebuilding lives. “This activity is the best service provided in terms of shelter, as the tent is considered the basis of the displaced person’s stay in the camp, and it needs periodic maintenance and replacement of covers when worn out,” he said. He understands that a well-maintained tent provides both shelter and hope. 

Khalil is a technician who works with SAFER to makes repairs around the displacement camp where he lives. Working with metal, he can fix water tanks, door frames, gas containers, and more.

Khalil, a displaced car mechanic, serves as a site technician with SAFER. He sees the role as an opportunity to contribute directly to the well-being of his community. “I provide services to camp residents, and I understand how much they require these services,” he said.  

Majeed is another technician who lives in a camp that finds hope in the opportunity to learn and contribute. “I feel like I’m working in my home when I provide maintenance services,” He said. Majeed values the skills he learns while serving his community. “The services provided by the maintenance team are valuable,” he added. 

Saleh, a young man planning his wedding, found a sense of purpose through a job with SAFER. In addition to the opportunity to support his own household, he said “what brings me immense satisfaction about this opportunity is that I can contribute support and service to the camp’s residents.” 


[1] Northeast Syria Protection Analysis Update, Northeast Syria Protection Sector Report, July 2023.