Nothing brings people together like food. So, after 30 days of daylight fasting, the Eid al-Fitr holiday to celebrate the end of Ramadan is the ultimate unifying feast. SSI’s Community Kitchen Eid event brought together asylum seeker clients to enjoy delicious food while reflecting on the experience of practicing Islam in Australia.
Tuxedo-clad toddlers with tambourines ran around the Auburn Centre for Community among about 200 SSI Community Support Program clients, who are asylum seekers living in the community on temporary visas while their refugee status is being assessed.
On the lawn, clients set up cricket games, using double-stacked milk crates as wickets; others kicked soccer balls with the kids, and people inside played boardgames.
Music also features at the fortnightly Community Kitchen events, so guests were entertained by a male violinist, followed by a female singer. “It’s such a great space for clients to share their talents,” says SSI Case Manager Marcela Hart.
SSI volunteers served the long line of clients a Middle Eastern feast provided by Australian Relief Organisation (ARO), which was topped off by dessert shopped for and prepared by Sajeda, an SSI client from the Rohingya community, an Islamic ethnic group from Myanmar. And at the end of the celebration, guests took home grocery hampers delivered by Hillsong and Life Links.
Just as food unites people, the CEO of ARO, Cihan Tuman, is pleased that the Community Kitchen regularly brings different humanitarian organisations together to help people. “We are a young charity; it’s only been a year so far,” he said, speaking about the aid they’re providing overseas, digging wells and delivering relief to natural disaster zones. “We want to do some local stuff, so we checked to see if there was anything we could do to assist SSI.”