Within the BPE activities, we met Shaza, currently working as Programme Officer at FAO and founder of Hummustown who told us about her idea and why having a work means to raise hope in refugees life. When the war broke out and the emergency started, Shaza decided to do something and this is when Hummustown was born and sustained by the contribution of many people. “Regardless of the expertise or skills these refugees bring from their home country, they are disadvantaged because they don’t speak the language and they don’t have the network of support that would allow them to explore job opportunities” says Shaza. Hummustown gives them the possibility to offer the one skill that transcends all boundaries – the gorgeous cooking tradition of Syria. The cooperative seeks to help Syrian Refugees based in Rome to earn a stable income through catering Syrian food prepared by them all around the city. Through the different NGOs based in Rome, Shaza encounters Syrian refugees and asks them if they would be interested in participating in the project. The hope nowadays is to give an opportunity and a source of income for unlucky people whether they are Syrian or any other nationality. What counts the most for Shaza is when people interact with refugees, because they have a name, a face, and a real identity. Today the future of Hummustown community sounds promising, starting from the new headquarters with a fully equipped professional kitchen that will allow the refugees working to have a more continuous and stable work. The new premises will also allow the construction of a meeting "place" in which to welcome citizens.
This interview was carried out by Assunta De Nicola in the frame of the European project BPE Becoming a part of the European project- How youth work can support young migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. Thanks are due to the Associazione HUMMUSTOWN of Rome and to Shaza Saker.