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Combining Power of Cooking

Fostering mutual social integration opportunity for locals and Syrian refugees via "combining power of cooking" in a common kitchen work

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What problem does the idea help to solve and how does your solution work? (2,000 characters maximum)

Due to the civil war in Syria, millions of people have been forced to flee into Turkey. The number of Syrian refugees in Turkey has reached at 3.643.870 & 49% of this population is females most of whom are in need of special attention. Within the 8-year of exodus, Syrians has somewhat begun to integrate but language and social integration is still a problem for most women who has no chance to have a profession or to take part in any social activity, for young Syrians as well. Using the "combining power of cooking" through initiating culinary workshops for Syrian and local women and young, is the starting point of our project. For various reasons the local women describe refugees as risk factor and are also somewhat against the social integration with their refugee fellows who are not in communication with locals. Thus, in such a time it’s crucial to develop ideas and projects in order to deal with the lack of communication and social exclusion, and to build bridges for social integration of these two communities. The Project’s 5 components: 1. Culinary Workshops: Half of the participants will be Turkish and half will be Syrian. The workshop activities will be based on [1] teaching of recipes to apprentices (200 fe/male participants btw 18-25) by masters(5 women have good command in Syrian and Turkish cuisines); and [2] collection of famous and irreplaceable dishes within a book. Each master will work with 40 apprentices. 2. Turkish language courses for Syrian participants and Turkish literacy classes for Turkish women. 3. A child-friendly space for women participants who have to take care of their children 4. A website for the participant stories, unique recipes and kitchen practices, and the history of those unique recipes will be shared. Visibility will be increased through social media posts 5.A book of “50 selected recipes from Turkish and Syrian cuisines”, including stories of participants and the migration experiences.

Geography of focus (500 characters)

Project will be done in Şanlıurfa, one of the biggest refugee hosting cities in the country. In Şanlıurfa the number of Syrians is 492.735, and this figure corresponds to the 21% of provincial population and 13% of nationwide refugee population. Şanlıurfa is one of the most suitable locations for such a project, due to hosting a huge refugee population, quite rich cuisine culture and unresolved problems on the social participation and development of women and young refugees and locals.

Building Bridges: What bridge does your idea build between people on the move and neighbors towards a shared future of stability and promise? (500 characters)

The local and refugee women&young who will come together for cooking will - Exchange knowledge, ideas, recipes and cultural heritage - Experience the joy of spendingtime withothers - Begin to cometogether outside the kitchen for everyday social reasons - Share with eachother more - Establish longlasting friendships, so bridges btw societies&cultures - Learn Turkish and develop their literal abilities so get free from one of the biggest barriers on healthy socialintegration & participation

What human need is your idea solving for? (1,000 characters)

For human being, it’s known that the most important need after nutrition and health is communication. This project, in addition to tackling with the social exclusion of Syrian women and young in the new society, aims to create a space to meet and better integrate through cooking for locals and refugees both. The women and young will take a step towards the solution of social exclusion and establishment of a peaceful society. Self confidence of disadvantaged participants, who will catch chance to easily communicate and share ideas, will rise up, also they will taste the joy of socialization and succeeding together. The Syrian women and young who have not learned the language yet will receive language education from professional trainers. Also (if any) local women who have literacy problems will be supported via special classes. Thanks to the child-friendly space which will be set up for the children of them, participants will attend activities and socialize with confidence.

What will be different within the community of focus as a result of implementing your idea? (1,000 characters)

Women and young belong to two seperate communities living apart and non-contact to each other in close but fragmented areas will find an opportunity to become friends and work together. Those people who spend time in a common space, communicate without any barriers and work for a social good together will feel themselves belonged to a team in micro, to the society in macro scales.

What is the inspiration behind your idea? (1,000 characters)

R.Putnam says the interaction of similar ones improve the connecting social capacity but the interaction of those who are different improve the bridging social capacity. Therefore in the community, consumption of familiar food, strength the same group members’ inner group relations but when it comes to taste the others’ food, the building of the bridge is being started. Already sharing the food itself created the today’s world’s rich culinary cultures& identities. Incredibly rich & world-famous culinary culture in MidEast, especially women enjoy cooking & eating together; Syrian refugees who cannot represent their culinary culture enough in the host community, inadequate social acceptance in host society, and the diminish in integration chances are the starting point of our project. In our region women want to cook together for any reason because cooking is the best and easiest way to socialize. This adorable and combining power of cooking is inspiring us.

Describe the dynamics of the community in which the idea is to be implemented. (1,000 characters)

• In Sanlıurfa where 1 in every 6 people is a refugee under conditions of protracted refugee crisis, locals and refugees have barriers on integration • Women are one of the most disadvantaged sections of the society.For most of those who do not reach the desired level in education, not appear in working life and cannot speak the local language, being housewifes is generally the only option • Youth unemployment and lack of education in Sanlıurfa is a growing problem for both locals and refugees • Due to conservative nature of society,women can only socialize with the other women. • Culinary culture is the mostimportant part of the everyday life and cultural heritage, both for locals and refugees • Although they meet at many commonpoints, Syrian and Turkish cultures come from different roots and these roots constitute the diversity &richness of the culture. To build a bridge between these two different cultures the emergence of differences as well as similarities is veryimportant

How does your idea leverage and empower community strengths and assets to help create an environment for success? (1,000 characters)

Our idea primarily will be the pioneer of the formation of Turkish and Syrian participants who know and understand each other closely. There is no doubt that this secure and sound communication will serve to create a healthier society. Women living in different neighborhoods and coming together in a center will carry out these activities and bring this togetherness to their families and thus the study will contribute to social peace. Refugees and their culture which is still unknown to local community members (especially local women)to an extent will be recognized more and prejudices will be broken after this work. Refugee women will be away from the phenomenon of exclusion and they will feel relatively free, comfortable and safe. The negative perception of “foreign”, “risk factor" etc. for refugees will hopefully be transformed to positive ones. The women who achieve to carry joint activities will be the role models to the community.

What other partners or stakeholders will work alongside you in implementing the idea, if any? (1,000 characters)

Different partners and stakeholders will be pleased to implement this idea with our organization. Local authorities care& are eager to participate of such projects. Local authorities with which our Association cooperates within the framework of protocols etc.) in particular are ready to support the credibility of the project and its access to human resources. To create a more effective and collaborative working environment, the AVAZ has signed a protocol with the Provincial Directorate of MoNE for organizing general courses, language courses, vocational and technical courses for the benefit of Syrians, foreigners under protection and Turkish citizens. In addition, AVAZ Association has been given official authorisation by Provincial Directorate of MoFWSP to run community centers and to conduct field work in the city. ConcernWorldwide, Rockflower Fou., Assistance Coord.Unit (of SyrianNational Alliance) are our partners.

What part of the displacement journey is your solution addressing

  • Arriving and settling at a destination community

Tell us how you'd describe the type of innovation you are proposing

  • Other

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Blueprint: We are exploring the idea and gathering the inspiration and information we need to test it with real users.

Group or Organization Name

AVAZ Association

Tell us more about your group or organization [or lived experience as a displaced person?] (1000 characters)

The AVAZ Association has been established as a local non-governmental organization on August 8, 2017 by a group of civil society volunteers in Şanlıurfa, Turkey. The main aim of establishment was to contribute to the development of the lives of disadvantaged people within the community in Şanlıurfa, at the local level. In line with the universal norms and U.N. conventions on rights, the AVAZ is dedicated to promote and protect the basic human rights of disadvantaged individuals and groups as well as the rights of refugees and asylum seekers in Şanlıurfa, and in S.E Turkey. For this purpose, AVAZ works to offer young and adult trainings, formal education supports for children, women empowerment programs and livelihood support such as start-up supports. Since 2011, the team members play an active roles in the projects focusing on the management of women's support centers, local community centers, and vocational courses and on-the-job training organizations for refugees & local community.

Website URL:

Type of submitter

  • We are a registered Non-Profit Organization

Organization Headquarters: Country


Organization Headquarters: City / State

Şanlıurfa province


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