There are two “Ramadan Kitchens” in Syria being served by Bridge of Peace Syria, one in Atmeh Refugee Camp and the other in Moadamiyeh.
Bridge of Peace Syria is helping to feed Syrian families most in need during this holy month of Ramadan. The first location is at the Atmeh Refugee Camp, also known at the “Olive Tree” camp, located on Syria’s northern border with Turkey, north of Idlib. It was initially formed in 2011 by Sryians who failed to cross over to Turkey as the war began. From hundreds of refugees then it has grown into a tent city with over 60,000 people who continue to flee from the violence that racks Syria. Due to it being situated on the border with Turkey and Turkish air space the camp is relatively safe from Barrel bomb attacks by the Assad regime. Bridge of Peace Syria’s Tamer Altaiar and a crew of two others from neighboring Al Waleed Refugee Camp have been helping cook for hundreds of people daily, as they have joined a much larger effort of volunteers with the Syria Smile Makers Team.
The second “Ramadan Kitchen” is in the City of Moadamiyeh, a suburb of Damascus that has been under siege since 2012, meaning that the city has been surrounded by regime soldiers who do not allow the flow of food, water, electricity and other life essentials to flow in or out; it is a city where people literally starve to death and malnourishment, especially with children, is common place.
The recipients being fed by both kitchens are primarily martyred families, single mothers with children, and orphans with no parents at all. In Atmeh, Tamer and his crew join the others well before sunrise to begin preparations for the day’s cooking. Using industrial-size metal pots placed on individual large propane burners, they boil water and heat oil, but only after all of the ingredients have been gathered and prepared; the vegetables washed and cut, garlic peeled and sliced, rice and legumes cleaned and spices selected. Then the cooking begins. These huge “vats” of food stirred with large wooden sticks take hours to prepared.
Once the cooking is finished, the children are already lined up at the entrance to the kitchen waiting to pick up the rations for their families. The food has been carefully portioned onto plates, covered with Saran Wrap for protection and ready for distribution.
In Moadamiyeh, hundreds of kilometers away, the council in the city has detailed records of families most in need living in the besieged areas. These are the families that are martyred where one of the parents, usually the husband is either dead or in “detention”, which usually means torture or death. These are the families that receive a hot meal or staple rations of rice, lentils, cooking oil, tea, sugar etc. Because there is no electricity or other cooking fuel, meals must be prepared on make-shift stoves using dry leaves, wood scraps or other burnables.
Our hearts go out to all the families we have been able to help, both in Atmeh and in Moadamiyeh who have suffered so much but are still able to carry on, hoping for a brighter future. With great appreciation we thank the Syria Smile Makers Team for setting up the kitchen in Atmeh and inviting Bridge of Pece Syria to participate with Tamer and his wonderful crew. Likewise, we greatly appreciate the City Council of Moadamiyeh, especially our liason, Dani Qappani for helping arrange our assistance to the families there. In the spirit of Ramadan, Bridge of Peace Syria is very happy to be a part of the “Ramadan Kitchens”.