Rebuilding Lives After the Earthquake in NW Syria

Date: 2023-10-11

In northwestern Syria, people have faced 12 years of crisis and the added hardship of a destructive earthquake. To address these challenges, the Welthungerhilfe (WHH) with the funding from United Nations OCHA has initiated  project which aims to support the most vulnerable families by mitigating earthquake impacts, enhancing self-reliance, and improving access to livelihood opportunities and basic services. The project targets 5,350 individuals in Jandiris, Afrin, and Sheikh Hadid. *Amer 27 year old father of eight month old twin girls is one of the participant of the project.

© WHH, Afrin, NW Syria October 2023

Amer's personal experience reflects the impact of the crisis in Syria and the earthquake on his life. He shared his story, explaining how he was just 14 years old when the crisis began, excelling in his studies and helping his father at a tailoring workshop. However, he was arrested by security forces, and the deteriorating security situation forced him to abandon his education. He and his family sought safety in various locations, eventually settling in northern Syria. Amer managed to complete his high school diploma, enroll in an economics college, and start a family. However, the earthquake shattered their lives, leaving them homeless and forcing him to leave his education and lose his job.

“I lived with my wife and our newborn twins in harsh conditions, homeless. We eventually settled in the Iman camp, and above all, I had to leave my education and lost my job at the school."

When asked about the greatest challenges in his daily life, Amer expressed deep concern about securing formula milk for his twin daughters, which costs about $6 daily, in addition to the expenses for any necessary medical treatment.

Amer now opened a small stationary that includes printing machines,  school supplies, as well as some toys and gifts. He is awaiting the second installment of the financial grant to expand and develop his library, possibly moving it to the main market.

“My income increased significantly right after the opening. Most importantly, I can now secure formula milk for my twins and meet all my family's needs without having to borrow money. Additionally, I returned to complete my education after leaving it following the earthquake."

The project will provide three rounds of cash assistance worth $150 each to 1,000 of the most vulnerable families. Additionally, 100 individuals will be selected for specific training, and they will submit their plans to a specialized committee, which will choose 50 plans to support with small business grants worth $1,300 each to establish and improve their livelihoods and those of their families. Furthermore, 10 earthquake-damaged stores will be identified for rehabilitation and reconstruction based on engineers' assessments.

*This indivudual’s name has been changed to protect their identity.

CBPF-TUR-23-R-INGO-25306 - Envelopes 1 and 3 - Increasing the resilience of earthquake-affected and vulnerable populations in Afrin through early recovery and MPC interventions is funded by the Syria Cross-border Humanitarian Fund (SCHF), a country-based pooled fund managed by the United Nations OCHA.