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The Date Project Blog

The war in Syria has been raging for years, displacing 6.3 million Syrians who have fled across the world to find safety, shelter and food. This has been widely reported on the news, but what hasn’t been widely picked up on is that early on in the war, Syrian bakeries and bread factories were constantly being bombed. Bread forms the staple diet in the region, was highly sought after.

11 million Syrians live without basic amenities, and to help address this, charity SKT Welfare renovated an abandoned bakery in the North of Syria, with the aim of providing free loaves of bread to thousands of local Syrians, as well as to seven local refugee camps. The Al-Huda Bakery in Syria now provides bread to thousands across the country.

The Date Project

The charity needed to find a way to provide funds to the bakery to supply flour, yeast, salt, and fuel obtained through its supply channels, as well as maintenance and employee salaries needed to operate the bakery. One tonne of flour produces 1000 packages of bread, and each package of bread can suffice the average Syrian family for one meal.

So, The Date Project was established in 2015 by several inspirational, passionate SKT Welfare volunteers. They had an ingenious idea- raise funds for the Al-Huda Bakery in Syria by selling a box of the finest medjoul dates for £10 during Ramadan. Each box sold raised funds for an incredible fifty loaves of bread for a Syrian family.

Medjoul dates from the Jordan Valley were imported into the UK, and thousands of boxes were sold across the country, selling-out within weeks in the run-up to Ramadan. Dates are hugely popular during the month of fasting, as they are eaten at sunset to break the fast.

Volunteers from across the UK deliver the dates at no cost, with SKT Welfare helpers spanning from Southampton to Aberdeen.

Overwhelming Success

To date, the bakery has benefitted an incredible 7.2 million individuals. In the first year of the project, 100,000 loaves of bread were distributed, and in 2016 a phenomenal 3.5 million loaves of bread were produced. We also expanded the market for the dates, and they became available in shops and Asian supermarkets across the UK.

Last year was our most ambitious and successful year to date. For Ramadan 2017, Palestine was added with a beautifully designed box in Palestinian colours being sold as the perfect gift nationwide. This project was aimed at helping support SKT Welfare’s water desalination plant in Palestine, with each box of dates sold enabling a Palestinian family to receive 500 litres of water. Through the help of our volunteers, over 3 million loaves of bread have been made and sold in Syria and over 22.5 million litres of water in Gaza.

 

The dates are now in the process of being packed into our gift tins by Syrian Refugees in Jordan. As well as providing those most in need of bread and water, it also helps with employment for Syrian Refugees.

Fresh bread is vital to Syrian family life, this bakery is not only providing bread; it is providing some employment, stability, and brings Syrians one small step closer to normality.

 

What Next?

Our work wouldn’t be possible without our incredible, compassionate volunteers. Their unrelenting enthusiasm and hard work arising from their compassion towards humanity is what has propelled the charity’s fundraising efforts to such success, and allowed us to make a lasting impact on the many lives that their efforts touch.

We’re hoping 2018 will be our biggest and best year to date, and would like to thank every single one of our supporters for their work in helping to provide bread and water to those most in need.


Posted on 04-Mar-2019

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