In a small bakery in Al-Hasakeh in Northeast Syria (NES), a young woman named Maysaa bakes bread to support her family. Maysaa is part of an uplifting ripple effect spreading across NES.
NES is home to generations of Syrians and host to tens of thousands of internally displaced people and refugees. Years of conflict and economic turmoil mean that many in the area are experiencing hunger and unemployment.
The Shelter and Food Emergency Response (SAFER) project, implemented by Blumont and funded by USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, is working to alleviate food insecurity not just by distributing food, but by creating economic opportunity in the community, too. From bakery owners to bakers, truck drivers, and displaced families, the benefits of SAFER’s bread supply chain are far-reaching.
The effort starts with supplying flour to bakeries across NES, like the one Maysaa works at. Purchasing flour in large quantities, SAFER provides it to bakeries to produce as much bread as possible each day. Once the bread is baked, the bakeries sell it back to SAFER, earning a profit that allows them to employ more workers at a fair, sustainable wage.
The fresh bread is then distributed to displacement camps and collective centers every day. Bread is a staple of meals for many in the region and, for families struggling to make ends meet, the free bread is also a lifeline. The money families save on buying bread allows them to pay for medical care or buy other nutritious foods and essential items.
For Maysaa, her job at the bakery is a lifeline, too. As the breadwinner for her entire family, she said, “I really feel proud when I provide them as much as I can, and SAFER makes my work here more sustainable.” SAFER’s ongoing partnership with bakeries means ensuring economic opportunities for Maysaa and others in the local community.
In 2020, our team distributed more than 138 million loaves of bread across NES. Bakeries and people like Maysaa are helping to feed their neighbors while creating a new future for themselves.
Working at the bakery, Maysaa shared, “makes me satisfied and proud.”