Employment opportunities, entrepreneurship and family harmony for refugees through food
Adapting services during the pandemic
Globalmama is a Sheffield social enterprise providing entrepreneurship opportunities and employability training to refugee women and Black, Asian and ethnic minority communities in Sheffield.
Founded and run by East African refugee women, the organisation opens doors for refugees and new migrants, and promotes cohesion amongst different groups of migrants and natives.
Before Covid-19, GlobalMama generated income through a catering social enterprise selling traditional East African food at weddings, events and festivals. The Covid outbreak saw them lose all this business, but they adapted and created a food delivery/takeaway service called Mama Meals.
Empowering young people
Mama Meals enables them to subsidise meals for the vulnerable. It also allowed their people to stay busy and productive during the challenging time with new opportunities and they shared their vibrant culinary heritage with the different communities of Sheffield.
One of the organisation’s aims is to empower young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Globalmama applied for a grant for staff, qualifications and expenses for young East African refugees to undertake an online cooking course and train for hygiene qualifications which would then lead to volunteering opportunities with Mama Meals, giving the young people great work experience.
Abdi is a young person who lived in his family home during lockdown. He was born in the UK but his parents come from Somalia. Like most young people, lockdown was a very boring and stressful time. With few things to get excited about, tensions within the family home were constantly rising.
His involvement in the project enabled him to reconnect with his family and do something enjoyable and productive with them. Abdi learnt a lot about Somali food and culture, making many of the dishes for the first time in his life and gaining a newfound appreciation for his family’s culinary heritage.
Abdi successfully completed his level 1 and 2 food hygiene qualification, increasing his employability and enabling him to volunteer with Mama Meals. He spent many hours working with the women: cooking food, planning deliveries, taking payment. The experience generated a new interest in entrepreneurship and food. Stating that he was interested in starting his own food-related business, he was referred to a business project Mama Meals are currently running.
On this project he attended numerous business workshops and developed a business plan for his idea. Since doing so, he has received a £1,000 grant to trial his idea and is currently in the process of doing so.
Helping families connect
Their activities were all about helping young people reconnect with their families and their heritage, keeping them off the streets, and improving their employability. Globalmama achieved exactly what they set out to do with the grant with the added joy of delivering 15 sessions instead of 10 because the chef enjoyed the project so much. 5 of the trainees from the Level 1 qualification went on to achieve the level 2 qualification and 10 young people volunteered with Mama Meals.
The cooking sessions would bring them closer to their parents and closer to their culture as they experience a fun and engaging new challenge, culminating in regular meals to share with family.
The food hygiene qualifications would raise the young people’s self esteem, their employability and give them the opportunity to volunteer with the Mama Meals social enterprise.
The young people who continued their volunteering would also get the chance to work paid shifts as well, resulting in a direct increase in employment for them.
The vast majority of the young people supported by Globalmama were the children of East African refugees who face an intersection of obstacles and social barriers, leading them to being very disadvantaged in their daily lives.
The project addressed key issues that these young people face:
- Conflicts with their parents over their cultural differences
- Lack of engaging opportunities
Adapting during Covid times
Globalmama achieved exactly what they set out to do with the grant with the added joy of delivering 15 sessions instead of 10 because the chef enjoyed the project so much.
Five of the trainees from the Level 1 qualification went on to achieve the level 2 qualification and 10 young people volunteered with Mama Meals.
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