Food trucks and refugees. Food as a chatlysator for social integration.
This project started with Hassan. He was a refugee and came to rio de Janeiro. He barely spoke Portugees and he was alone. But he spoke another language, la cuisine. He started to sell food on the street with other refugees and in a while he started to have relations with people around him as for example the local people. After a while he felt at home in is new country. This was because of the food. Now, if this works for Hassan, why doesn’t this for other migrants? That’s exactly the thought of four other women. They developed the project eat and meat. On their website (source) they explain this:
Food is an excellent catalyst for acquaintance and cultural exchange. Eat & Meet uses food to foster relationships and warm hearts, presenting refugees as an indispensable part of modernity. The project turns renovated city buses into food trucks where refugees can cook and sell food from their culinary tradition, with proceeds going to the workers as well as integration projects. A weekly recipe offered to customers is a pretext to evoke the culture, heritage and history of refugees. A ‘social space’ at the rear of the bus acts as meeting place, with the bus becoming a vehicle for branding, a landmark in the city that moves and connects people despite distances.
So they want to give people a spot in the society and also give the refugees cultural knowledge and background from the local people.
I think this project is just great. It’s a win-win situation for all the people involved. Maybe this works beter as to put the refugees in a place with a Dutch book to learn the language for example. By doing things as these you have fun, learn the language, connect with people and make themselves feel useful.