As-Salamyia: The desire to live with dignity

Maher, As-Salamyia © UNDP

Rural Damascus is witnessing fierce fighting; most areas previously considered as peaceful are now totally destroyed. Most residents were forced to relocate to safer areas.


Maher, one of many others, found himself homeless after watching his house, where he used to live with his wife and six of his family members, burn down as a result of direct hits by mortars, forcing him to flee and take refuge in rural Hama in As-Salamyia.


Maher and his wife are both deaf and mute since childhood. Their disability never prevented them from living happily in the past, where the income earned from his job as a construction worker allowed him to fulfill the needs of his family. After displacement, finding a new source of livelihoods became a huge challenge.


“We left our home without taking anything with us. Everything is expensive; I couldn’t buy milk for my six- month old son or provide heating fuel to warm my family during the cold winter. It was impossible for me to find a job. I was suffocating!” he said using sign language.


As-Salamyia is considered one of the most important poultry production areas in Syria, where the estimated average of chicken production constituted up to 30% of the total national production. Poultry farming has been severely affected by the crisis causing up to 50% decline in production due to bankruptcy and changes in economic activities. UNDP in partnership with a local NGO are implementing a project to revive poultry production and provide job opportunities to affected IDPs and host communities, focusing on vulnerable groups such as women-headed households and people with disabilities.


Maher among many other benefited from this project. Working eight hours a day, he was able to buy basic needs for his family.


The poultry project has helped providing 179 one month job opportunities making significant improvements to the lives of IDPs and host communities in As-Salamyia.

“I was praying to God and asking for a decent job. Thanks to this opportunity, I don’t have to borrow money anymore.” He said using sign language, with a smile on his face.

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