With millions of Syrians displaced around the world to find food, shelter and safety, the fate of those left behind has often been overlooked. With bakeries and bread factories destroyed by bombs during the Civil War, it has meant that many people no longer have access to their staple form of nourishment. 11 million Syrians lack basic amenities including access to food.
As a way of providing practical help, SKT Welfare renovated an abandoned bakery in northern Syria in order to provide free loaves of bread to thousands of Syrians living in the locality, as well as seven refugee camps.
The Date Project
To fund this project, SKT Welfare needed to find a way to pay for basic supplies of flour, yeast, salt and fuel as well as providing employees salaries and regular maintenance of the bakery. One tonne of flour provides 1000 packages of bread. Each package provides enough bread to feed a Syrian family for one meal.
The Date Project was the answer. Established in 2015, it was an ingenious solution. During Ramadan dates are in demand as a way of ending each day’s fasting. SKT Welfare linked with growers in the Jordan Valley to source sustainable high quality Medjool dates and import them into the UK. By selling each box for £10, enough money could be raised to pay for 50 loaves of bread. It proved an extremely popular decision. Thousands of boxes were sold, and were distributed by volunteers throughout the UK enabling 100,000 loaves of bread to be produced. It is a success story that has been repeated every year since 2015.
To date, over 12.5million loaves of bread have been provided by the Al-Huda Bakery and distributed to local people, and refugees in camps around Idlib in Northern Syria. In addition, the project has been expanded into Palestine under the title Dates for Palestine. As a result more than 90m litres of clean drinking water has been provided to the citizens of Palestine via two purpose-built desalination plants in Gaza. The Date Project also funded the building of the first plant.