THE POWER OF FOOD TO BRING US TOGETHER
Posted on June 29 2021
Migrateful (migrateful.org) is quite an amazing charity which runs wonderful cookery classes led by refugees, asylum seekers and migrants from around the world who might be struggling to integrate and access employment in the UK. The cookery classes provide ideal conditions not just for learning English and building confidence, but also for promoting contact and cultural exchange with the wider community.
Finding work can be tough for many migrants for a variety of reasons. Being unable to provide for themselves and their families has significant negative effects on self-esteem and mental health. Migrateful’s mission is “to empower and celebrate refugees and vulnerable migrants on their journey to integration, by supporting them to run their own cookery classes.” Migrateful’s current chefs come from all over the world – Albania, Bangladesh, Cuba, Eritrea, China, Equador, Lebanon, Iran, Pakistan, Syria, Jamaica, Tanzania, Nepal and many more, which makes for diverse and totally delicious dishes.
Migrateful was the idea of Jess Thompson following a period studying in Mexico and two and a half years working directly with refugees in Morocco, France and London. In 2017, following discussions with refugee women in Tower Hamlets - who struggled to find employment because their skills were not recognised in the UK - Jess came up with the idea.
Since then, Migrateful has run over 1,600 classes with over 18,000 participants. And during the pandemic, classes have continued to be run by Migrateful’s refugee and migrant chefs over Zoom. They also offer a range of catering opportunities and cookery demonstrations. If you’ve ever been tempted to create dishes from around the world, Migrateful is your chance to try.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS, THIS IS WHY MIGRATEFUL’S WORK IS SO CRUCIAL…AND SO HUMANE...
“Our chefs are referred to us because they are struggling to integrate into UK society. Many are still processing trauma after experiencing sex trafficking, honour-based violence or fleeing war-torn countries. Employment is the most important factor in successful refugee integration. For many the path to integration is a difficult one given their levels of trauma, language barriers, lack of contacts and support networks and understanding of UK culture. The unemployment rate for refugees and those of refugee background is over 4 times higher than the national average.
Many of the chefs that we work with aspire to become entrepreneurs running their own food businesses. We use catering enquiries as an opportunity to provide our chefs with training and support to aid their personal development, and most importantly with real life experience of catering for large numbers. We do this with the support of our in house experienced chefs and event planners to help the chefs to learn, and to make sure that everything is delivered on the day to the highest standards.”
So do take a look at their website and if you have a party or event in mind, why not treat yourself…www.migrateful.org
(All photos from Migrateful)