With help from the World Food Programme, Afghan refugees in Iran bake their own daily bread
Nineteen-year-old Sajjad is one of more than 4,500 Afghan refugees who live in Rafsanjan settlement in Iran’s Kerman province. His parents fled Afghanistan when they were teenagers. They had met in Rafsanjan, where they got married and lived with their three children for over 20 years.
After losing his father two years ago, Sajjad provides for his mother and two siblings. He finished high school last year and has been working as a baker in the settlement for the past six months.
“I am a ‘breadwinner’ and a ‘bread maker’ at the same time,” says Sajjad jokingly.
“Baking bread in the holy month of Ramadan feels even more important than usual. It is very rewarding, knowing that every family breaks their fast at Iftar with the bread that I have baked.”
In Rafsanjan, like in many other settlements, bakeries are run by the refugees themselves and residents in the settlement receive their wheat flour entitlement in the form of daily bread. The bakeries operate under close government supervision and according to clear guidelines set by the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Bureau for Aliens and Foreign Immigrants Affairs (BAFIA).
“Every bread I bake and hand out reminds me of those less fortunate who are hungry and fear for their lives every day. I pray for peace and friendship for all nations and hope to see the day when no one suffers from hunger,” Sajjad says.
For the past 30 years, WFP has been providing food assistance — including wheat flour, rice, sugar, lentils and vegetable oil — to some 30,000 Afghan and Iraqi refugees residing in 20 settlements across Iran.
Find out more about WFP’s work in Iran.