Hama: Saving the Pine forests
The citizens of Aleppo suffered enormous losses during the Syrian crisis, especially those who were living in besieged areas with no access to basic services like water, food or electricity. The devastating conditions have forced many residents to leave their homes and properties seeking safer havens in other governorates.
Dalal was one of Aleppo residents, a 52 year old woman who had to flee out of her home after being attacked and damaged during the hostilities taking refuge in Al-Salamyia area in Hama. “My husband used to work as a contractor. He could not bear the loss of our life savings all at once, which caused him a heart attack preventing him from working”, said Dalal who found herself suddenly the sole breadwinner to three children and an ill husband.
At first she started to work in a local grocery store receiving a monthly pittance that was insufficient to cover the basic needs of her family. Few months later, she started to work at pine forests cleaning initiative that was implemented by UNDP through the contribution of EU to provide job opportunities for IDPs and host community members and prevent negative coping mechanisms.
The monthly wage she received from working in this project has significantly helped her to improve her living situation and provide medicine to her husband. “When I used to work in the grocery store, I sold people things that I couldn’t buy to my children. I was suffocated to see them longing to eat certain foods that I no longer can afford like meat and chicken after the wealthy life we lived in the past”, said Dalal. “This project was a savior to my family. When I received my first wage I rushed to the store and bought some meat and sweets to my little children, they were very happy".
The pine forests cleaning project helped in enhancing the living situations of IDPs and their host community members by providing 55 monthly employment opportunities for four month to save the forests from pine moth that was threatening the trees and the surrounding environment.