The Mobile Kitchen: An NGO Project Helping Female Refugees In Egypt

North Africa

Dawar Foundation for Arts and Development in Egypt has established a mobile kitchen for women, including refugees from Syria and Sudan.

A community project initiated by the Dawar Foundation for Arts and Development in Egypt aims to create diverse job opportunities for female refugees, who have come to the country mainly from Syria and Sudan. Egyptian women are also represented, and are attending the free classes with the aim of improving their cooking skills and their understanding of nutrition. 

There is a total of 11 different nationalities represented among the refugees working in the kitchen, all of whom have been through difficult times. Alongside helping to improve the women’s employability through cooking skills training, the Foundation also offers psychological support to the refugees. The Director of Development at Dawar Kitchen, Nada al-Shazly, believes that the project serves as a stepping stone to better community integration.

“We created this project in Ezbet Khair Allah in order to provide employment opportunities for women of different nationalities.” said Nada al-Shazly. “We will provide training and work opportunities for women living here, as well as community integration seminars.”

Ezbet Khair Allah, where the kitchen is based, is the second-largest suburb of Cairo. Job opportunities are for the most part limited to men who work in wood and iron recycling workshops. For women, opportunities to find work are much more limited, although there is a small number of jobs in associations. 

There are signs that the community integration objectives are being met, as one woman told reporters of her joy at being able to work with Syrian and Sudanese women, with whom she feels comfortable. She also said that sharing stories of their respective suffering helps to alleviate their own. Clearly, as well as working hard in the kitchen, the project has succeeded in helping the women forge close friendships and work in the spirit of one team.

This project has become the only means for these refugees to escape poverty and the bitter reality of their past. That said, the idea behind this project is already inspiring talk of similar initiatives being set up elsewhere in Egypt to help Egyptian woman, as well as the 250,000 refugees living in the country, most of whom are Syrian.