Mansour is a 37-year-old father of two from a village near Al Mayadin in Deir ez-Zor in eastern Syria. He leaves his home every day in search of work to support his family. Mansour aspired to be the first to open a shop for solar energy in his village with his three close friends, but his difficult financial situation barely allowed him to feed his children. "My dream was to have my own business and be the first to open a shop for alternative energy solutions given the challenges we are facing with the electricity supply in our area," said Mansour.
One day, while browsing online, Mansour came across an announcement on the UNDP Facebook page for the Green Recovery Project. Joy filled his heart that he might finally be able to achieve his aspiration and dream. “I immediately rushed to tell my friends about it. We spent the evening planning together what our shop would look like and what would we name it. We could barely sleep that night, and the next morning, we rushed to the UNDP office to apply and present our idea,” reminisced Mansour with a smile on his face.
After an anxious wait, the UNDP team called to inform them that their project had been accepted, and that they needed to undergo training. “I felt like I was in a dream. My prayers were finally answered,” said Mansour. "That call was the turning point for us, an opportunity to stand up on our own feet again," he added.
The Green Recovery project is implemented by the United Nations Development (UNDP) in Syria, with support from the Funding Window - Denmark. The project aims to enhance the role of social enterprises as an effective tool that contributes to offering sustainable solutions to support green recovery across Syria. The project provided small grants to help establish new social businesses or expand existing ones. In addition to funding, the selected projects received specialized training in marketing, communication, legal support and small business management, followed by counselling and mentoring throughout the implementation phase.
Mansour and his friends finally opened their shop and started their new venture. They had already divided the work among themselves — Mansour and Khaled were electricians responsible for installing energy systems. Zaher was a blacksmith handling solar panels, and Saeed was in charge of sales, purchases, and logistics. They worked together like a beehive.
“Because of the income generated through the project, we are able to support about fifteen people. We are running the first and only shop in our village that sells and installs solar energy equipment,” said Mansour.
Seventy sustainable long-term green job opportunities were created through the Green Recovery project, which enabled the advancement of 30 social enterprises, including 17 led by women, all of which are now diligently working on reducing pollution and promoting environmental recovery.