Global Village Cafe Evening

Keswick Rotary club supported an evening with the Global Village café , an organisation that supports refugees and asylum seekers.

Rotary Refugee event
Last Friday Keswick Rotary Club arranged a supper prepared by a team from The Global Village Café: it was agreed to be very successful by organisers, guests and the Global Village visitors alike. 60 people sat down in Portinscale village hall to a 3 course supper prepared by refugees and asylum seekers from Iran, Iraq, and Albania who are representative of some 300 refugees and asylum seekers from many African, Asian, Eastern European and Middle Eastern countries , who have been placed in Lancaster following their arrival in the UK. All are hoping to stay in this country, and some have now been given “Leave to Remain” and are seeking work and permission for their families to join them. Others continue to await the outcome of their applications. The process is lengthy, and can end in heart-breaking refusal, and expulsion from the UK.
Keswick Rotary Club invited The Global Village Café to serve supper, and to share their experiences, in order to raise funds for the refugees in Lancaster, to increase local knowledge of the challenges they face, and to promote understanding and friendship. Rotarians, guests and local residents, (who applied for tickets following an article in the Reminder in November, previewing the event), raised over £1800 during the evening, which will be used by The Global Village Café to develop kitchen premises in the precinct of Lancaster Priory, as a base for the provision of a full Cafe offering of the national dishes of members of the refugee community.
The Global Village organisation was set up by local Lancaster volunteers as a not-for-profit Social Enterprise organisation to help refugees integrate into the local community. Until given permission to stay by the Home Office refugees are unable to work, and must live on a tiny daily allowance, so the sharing concept has proved an important way of giving refugee volunteers a sense of purpose, and the opportunity to develop their confidence, their language and business skills, and to benefit both from working, and earning money, once permission to stay has been confirmed. Today, after training, Global Village chefs and helpers provide food for local people, business and other organisations holding meetings and conferences, and arrange events planned around sharing of meals with other members of the refugee community in the Lancaster area.
As a way to raise awareness of the issues, the supper tables competed during the Portinscale meal to answer questions about the refugee issue, and the response of the UK and other countries. The meal was not only prepared and cooked, but also served by the visitors, who joined guests for the main course of Kushari (the National dish of Egypt). There was a presentation by the Trustee Chair of the Global Village Café, explaining the background to Lancaster’s decision to become a City of Sanctuary, and the development of the Global Village Cafe initiative. Huda, a business graduate from Iraq, shared a moving and fascinating description of her journey from her home in Northern Iraq to Lancaster, and her search for work, having recently received the news of official permission to stay, and Afrim, a former army instructor from Albania, demonstrated his enthusiasm and sales skills by nearly doubling the raffle ticket income in a tour of the tables during the dessert course of Basbousa- a semolina cake with fruit.
The evening was judged a success in every way, and by all who attended.

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