Cooking for the Iftar: AFE and Help Refugees

“It’s a beautiful Ramadan dinner. We’re so happy to share this dinner together. So many people eating together in a beautiful place. It’s a really nice experience. We share a moment together: we speak, we get to know different people; it’s a moment when we can make a different experience. - Guest, Samos

During the month of Ramadan, with the support of Help Refugees, we've been cooking Iftar meals for participants and guests to our centres on both Samos and Chios.

Iftar is the meal taken at sundown that marks the breaking of fast during Ramadan. Having abstained from food and drink since the early morning, Iftar is a moment to come together in community and give thanks to Allah.

Over the years we've run our centres, Ramadan is always a month of greater quiet, during which the intensity of the projects and activities we run is muted. Under the hot Greek sun, and under the difficult conditions endured by asylum seekers, this month sees energy levels decrease. We respect this throughout the month, adapting our services to support participants along the way.

But this year, the relative calm in our centres during the days has been contrasted with huge activity and excitement during the evening.

On Chios, we've been cooking 3 evening meals every week. On Samos, 2 evening meals every week. Prepared by chefs from our Youth Centre groups and by our Community Volunteers, these meals include dates, yoghurt, salads and varied main courses included roasted chicken, beef stews and lentil curries.

With the help of our students and volunteers, each evening we've decorated our centres and welcomed up to 180 guests into our 'pop-up' restaurants! In total, the kitchen teams cooked over 2000 meals!

“The atmosphere is really nice. People are sharing and they’re all understanding each other. It could be a mess, but it’s all happening so nicely.” - Volunteer, Samos

The process of planning the meals, securing deliveries, setting up the space, taking in tickets and managing the large numbers that take a seat in our centres hasn't always been easy. It's been busy, stressful and we've had to constantly adapt our systems along the way.

But the benefits enjoyed both by our teams, who have grown closer through these challenges, and for our guests, for whom we've provided a dignifying and delicious evening meal, are huge.

It was a wonderful Iftar last night. Thank you to all the teachers! - Guest, Chios

Thank you to everyone who has helped in financing, supplying, cooking, serving, cleaning and attending these nights. And now that Ramadan has come to an end, we wish everyone, Eid Mubarak!

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