ASY­LUM SEEKER CUI­SINE CAN START CON­VER­SA­TION

Southern Gazette (Belmont) - - OPINION -

ASY­LUM seek­ers and refugees set­tling in Perth will be work­ing to change the so­cial stigma sur­round­ing their groups, us­ing food. Wel­fare and ad­vo­cacy non-profit CARAD, which sup­ports asy­lum seek­ers, refugees and de­tainees, has re­ceived $100,000 from Im­pact100 al­low­ing them to re­alise a dream of start­ing a food truck. Vol­un­teer co-or­di­na­tor Joanna Josephs said it would be one of the first so­cial en­ter­prise food trucks in Perth. She wants peo­ple to en­gage with these mi­nor­ity groups and get to know them through food, rather than a gen­er­alised pub­lic per­cep­tion. The asy­lum seeker and refugee clients work­ing with vol­un­teers on the new ven­ture will also be act­ing on be­half of CARAD clients who can­not speak for them­selves: de­tainees. CARAD vol­un­teers reg­u­larly visit Yon­gah Hill Im­mi­gra­tion De­ten­tion Cen­tre in Northam pro­vid­ing ed­u­ca­tion and sup­port to de­tainees. Sadly, the vol­un­teers are the only vis­i­tors most of these peo­ple get. Re­gard­less of per­sonal opin­ion on where the de­tainees should end up, it’s im­por­tant to start a con­ver­sa­tion with these groups. Learn about their cul­ture, tell them about yours. Taste the dolma or biryani from Iraq and chat about the weather. These asy­lum seek­ers and refugees are sell­ing their cuisines to start a con­ver­sa­tion. It won’t solve the refugee prob­lems of the world but it will pro­mote ac­cep­tance.

Denise S. Cahill, Ed­i­tor

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