In the past few months almost every television channel across the world has splashed heart-rending images of migrants trying desperately to reach various countries in European Union. For the past few years we have been debating about the issue of accommodating refugees. The reaction to this matter has varied from helplessness to hatefulness to hopeful action and compassion.
Despite the projected gloom and resentment there are many organizations, which are working relentlessly to solve the crisis and give all of us a perspective about this humanitarian crisis.
We, at Guts For Change spoke to one such inspiring initiative called ‘Kitchen on the Run’. ‘Kitchen on the Run’ works toward building a platform where the asylum seekers and the locals from various countries in Europe can have ways to communicate and to develop a sense of mutual understanding and compassion. And what better way, for people to build a rapport and sense of community towards each other than to come together to cook and share a meal. The concept of ‘Kitchen on the Run’ has won 2015’s Advocate Europe’s challenge where in every year project ideas, which promote ways to strengthen cohesion and connection among people in Europe, are awarded. Below is our chat with Jule Schröder who is one of the founders of the organization:
- What inspired you to start ‘Kitchen on the Run’ and can you please explain the concept in detail?
It all started for us in the year 2012 when me and my friend and co founder Rabea were pursuing our Bachelor studies in European Cultural History. We both were living the European life of enrichment through traveling, studying, working and cooking in many households across Europe. We especially felt home when we used to sit with people from various countries and cultures at their kitchen table and enjoy the meals which we cooked with them. This beautiful experience made us understand people and their culture while we exchanged delightful mouth watering recipes.
This led Rabea and me to contemplate with an idea of opening a mobile bar in a shipping container with which we can travel around the world to connect people and bridge the gaps and also raise awareness about a social cause. Then in this year when we heard of the Advocate Europe Idea Challenge, we pursued our concept of opening a bar in shipping container and evolved with the concept of ‘Kitchen on the Run’ where we will develop a shipping container into a mobile kitchen which will go to various locations across Europe and offer the kitchen for a day to refugees to be able to host dinners and invite people over to share their stories and of course the sumptuous and yummy meals. The award money of 50.000 euros has helped us bring alive the concept of ‘Kitchen on the Run’ where in we will start our tour in the year 2016 of various cities across Europe and help locals and refugees to come together on a kitchen table to develop a sense of bond and understanding towards each other. We are going to travel to countries, which take most number of refugees in Europe.
- What Kind of challenges you face when you are preparing for the trip?
Well ,as we are in the process of preparing and planning for the trip, we have lot of aspects to work on. From finding local homes across Europe where our team can lodge for few nights when the shipping container will be stationed in various locations to building and designing the kitchen. I would also like to mention that we do get lot of support and assistance from various people and organizations for our work.
- How would you go about arranging the interaction between the refugees and the locals?
We are planning to go to the locations before hand where we plan to take the container with the kitchen next year. We have been writing to the local administrations about our concept and we are asking for their cooperation and help. Once the container starts travelling next year we plan to promote our concept by distribution of fliers and telling about the concept to local media so that refugees and locals can come together to plan some events and gatherings. Like, we expect some refugees to use the kitchen to host a dinner let’s say for the local football team.
- How can people contribute or help you with the project?
Well, we are seeking volunteers who can help us with social media awareness about our concept. We also have a wish list which we need to fulfill in order to make our trip next year successful. here is the link. We are also seeking donations here.
- What would be your message for people who are looking to work on social projects?
From my experience of working on this project is that one needs to have fun while they are learning and working on social projects. Also, it is amazing how when one starts to work on a social project, help pours in from people from various walks of life and backgrounds. It is important to reach out for help.
You can read more about this exciting social intiative here.