Giving Syrians in Aleppo Their Daily Bread

LWR will repair and renovate two bakeries in Syria’s Aleppo District to resume pita bread production

Years of fighting have laid waste to Aleppo, the largest pre-war metropolitan area in Syria and one of the oldest cities in the world.

The infrastructure of Aleppo and its surrounding communities has been destroyed. Roads are impassible. Hospitals have been shelled. And food markets lay in rubble. Meanwhile, those who remain must provide for their household needs using what few resources they have. High on the list of needs is a staple in the diet of every Syrian: bread.

Pita, the flat discs of unleavened bread familiar to anyone who has eaten a gyro, is an essential part of every meal. But in the Aleppo district, pita bread is hard to come by. Most of the bakeries were destroyed or heavily damaged in the war, and shortages of flour and power blackouts have hampered the operation of the few still functioning. It is not uncommon to see long lines of people lined up outside of the remaining working bakeries to buy bread. In the past, these large public gatherings have been targets of violence.

Lutheran World Relief is working through a local partner to repair and renovate two bakeries in the towns of Akhtarin and Sawran in the Aleppo district so they can resume bread production. Equally important, the project will provide the raw materials for making bread, the key ingredient being flour. Syrian bakers use a special blend of wheat flour with a very high protein content to make their pita dough, which is then quickly baked in ovens at very high temperatures.

The bakeries will provide desperately needed employment for 30 people in a city where jobs are scarce, and are expected to produce up to nine tons of bread daily, providing more than 80,000 people with access to affordable pita.

This is part of LWR’s ongoing response to the crisis in Syria. Over the course of the conflict, this emergency response has included cash-for-work opportunities for people still living in Syria with no means of earning income, support for Syrian refugees in Iraq and Jordan, and material resources, such as Mission Quilts, Baby Care Kits, School Kits and Personal Care Kits, that have been shipped to Armenia, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Serbia and Syria for distribution among refugees.