How cooking programs have been helping refugees cope.
Anxiety, stress, and depression can lay a massive burden on refugee health after being relocated to a new country. The traumas of the place they left will often follow them for many years, if not forever. So how can cooking help?
All over the world, we are beginning to see innovative cooking programs tailored directly to refugees in order to address aspects of identity and mental health in the context of being in a new city.
Cooking has proven to provide an outlet that may help to overcome some of the mental strains that come with being a refugee. These programs provide a space for new social interaction and friendships to be formed with people that might have shared similar experiences, either in their home countries or in their new host countries.
The use of cooking as an occupation can be successful in creating an environment that allows refugees from a variety of backgrounds to bond and feel more open in talking about their own experiences
But not only this, cooking also had the potential to improve the confidence of the women both in their self-esteem and in their use of English. These programs can help to improve industry skill and provide training to help members of refugee communities find employment and reduce some financial stress and the mental health issues that come along with that.
These programs have helped refugee men and women across the world preserve their culinary traditions while making a better living for themselves and their families.
So where are these programs?
They have popped up all over, from Sydney to London, from Paris to Lebanon, from Melbourne to Berlin. Programs have been so successful they are even starting to appear in small regional towns such as Coffs Harbour on the NSW north coast.
Get in touch and tell us about programs you have heard of or that are happening in your town to help address the issue of mental health in refugee communities. We’d love to help spread the word
If you would like some more information on where to find refugee cooking programs, we have attached some links below.
http://www.refugeefoodfestival.com/?lang=en (Happening in Cities all over the world)
http://lentilasanything.com/ (Newtown, Sydney)
http://www.thetradingcircle.com.au/fourbravewomen (Summerhill, Sydney)
https://www.migrateful.org/ (London, UK)
Written by Georgia Martyn.