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Solidarity Syrian style: Serving food and friendship in a Paris canteen

Syrians resettled in Paris find mutual solace in new community as they build a life in exile

 

In the eastern Parisian suburb of Montreuil, a new neighbourhood initiative run by both Syrian and French volunteers aims to bring local communities closer. Launched in September at the premises of the French cultural association, La Maison Ouverte, or The Open House, this weekly "Syrian Canteen" serves traditional Syrian food every Thursday lunchtime, with optional donations. 

 

Syrians Mayada Alkibbeh and Taha Almohammad oversee the cooking, assisted by a team of volunteers. “Everyone plays a part; some cook, others help by clearing the tables and chairs when lunch is over," Mayada says. "We rotate roles each week because it's important for everyone to learn to cook, or to make the purchases, and to manage the whole team well."

Their main objective, Mayada says, is to exchange experiences, learn about each others' cultures, and build a new life in exile. "We left our country through a lot of sadness, but we have to build a new life, meet new people in our exile as we are doing now. Wherever you go there are beautiful people." Read more For MEE