Cooking for Freedom are a group of refugees living in Direct Provision hostels in Ireland. They have come together to create bonds and strengthen their community through the act of sharing a meal. Direct Provision is a system of asylum seeker accommodation used in Ireland. The system has been criticised by human rights organisations as illegal, inhumane and degrading. While proponents argue that it ensures asylum seekers are housed and have basic needs cared for.

While those living under Direct Provision are housed and provided with food, there are no cooking facilities available. In contrast to most other EU Member States, Asylum seekers are not allowed to hold any type of paid employment while in the asylum system so having the independence to choose what and when to eat is not available. The women of Cooking for Freedom say this:

“We want to cook for ourselves and our families. Currently we can only eat the canteen food provided by the hostels. For years at a time. Cooking together gives us a real focus in our lives.”

They now have access to two kitchens on an occasional basis, for one or two days a week, which is brilliant news and the intention is for it to grow in time. For now they need to fundraise to buy ingredients for cooking, to feed their loved ones and bring people together over a meal prepared with care (and cultural understanding). 

“Can you help provide our children with their culturally appropriate food?”

Mavis Ramazani founder of Cooking For Freedom and member of MASI (Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland) will be speaking at our Talkin’ Co-op. She will speak about her own experiences as a community organiser and how cooking and sharing food together is an important factor in strengthening and supporting communities.

The event will be on 27 October, 2019 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm