The Syrian crisis erupted on 15 March 2011 and has led to years of war that have devasted the country and had serious psychological, economic and social repercussions.
With no prospect of reconstruction activities or economic recovery, families have seen their financial situation gradually get worse. It is estimated that 90% of the population is living below the poverty line and many Syrians are unable to meet their basic needs.
This situation led to the idea of launching a project to create job opportunities adapted to the current Syrian market and able to guarantee people a minimum income.
The RestarT project (Restart to Stay) is aimed at those who have experience in production and/or commercial activities but are now unemployed. In this way, those who have a project get the support they need to realise it, improve their financial situation and, by staying in Syria, contribute to rebuilding the country after the war.
It is going to start with a core group of 30 projects in the town of Homs.
Instead of receiving money the beneficiaries receive capital equipment and everything they to start their business. When it’s time to pay back, each beneficiary gives back 50% of the value of what was received as money which can then provide credit for other projects, after the training and verification process.
The remaining credit is put into a Reciprocity Fund which is not in the form of money but of goods and services that the beneficiaries commit to offering the community. For example, each beneficiary might suggest offering a job to someone in difficulty or free training courses in their particular sector to help those in need to start up or grow their business (courses in sewing, cookery, farming, etc.).
- A preliminary survey of about 150 project proposals (collated through interviews of the bi-SOGNI project);
- the selection of 30 projects based in Homs
- training for those responsible for the 30 projects selected in the culture of communion and reciprocity; the presentation of the timetable and credit methodology
- the allocation of credit for individual projects (through the consignment of goods and equipment needed) according to the amount granted after a feasibility study;
- the monitoring of projects by telephone contact and regular visits;
- meetings between the participants for “peer-to-peer training” by providing opportunities for participants to listen to each other’s experiences.