Sanctuary Kitchen transforms refugees' lives through the power of food

faithandleadership.com | 10/29/2019 | Staff
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For most of her years in America, Rawaa Ghazi felt like a stranger in a strange land.

In 2010, at the age of 21, Ghazi fled her home in Iraq and found refuge in New Haven, Connecticut. Hampered by a lack of English skills, she felt cut off from life and work here, a sense of displacement that persisted until earlier this year, when it was eased by an organization called Sanctuary Kitchen.

Ghazi - Staff - Catering - Chef - Day

The nonprofit invited Ghazi to join its staff as a catering chef, and from that day six months ago, her life has been transformed by the power of food to bring people together.

Sanctuary Kitchen is an innovative New Haven program dedicated to training, employing and empowering immigrants and refugees through food service and intercultural exchange.

Kitchen - Iraqi - Chef - Rawaa - Ghazi

Sanctuary Kitchen Iraqi chef Rawaa Ghazi

The program’s catering services, supper clubs and cooking classes harness skills and recipes brought from around the world, helping mitigate immigrants' cultural isolation and offering them the opportunity to make money. In the process, Sanctuary Kitchen adds savor to the community while raising awareness of refugees’ lives.

Others - Share - Skill - Talent - Connections

How might you invite others to share a skill or talent? What openings, new connections and relationships might that invitation create?

No longer sequestered at home with no means of independent income, Ghazi today is one of six paid part-time chefs in the catering kitchen, with women from Syria and Afghanistan who share her language, religion and regional food traditions.

Group - Family - Sanctuary - Kitchen - Kitchen

“We are a good group, like a second family,” she said of her Sanctuary Kitchen friends. “Sanctuary Kitchen has really helped me. I am really thankful.”

In August, Ghazi -- just a few months after joining Sanctuary Kitchen -- found herself in a private dining room at Yale Divinity School telling her story to a group of international scholars.

Academics - Professors - Religion - Theology

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