You are currently viewing For Refugee Week 2019, Migrateful chefs share their stories of resilience and the power of food to rebuild lives

For Refugee Week 2019, Migrateful chefs share their stories of resilience and the power of food to rebuild lives

We invite you to explore the lives of six Migrateful chefs, seeking refuge in Britain

Migrateful exists to empower and celebrate refugees and vulnerable migrants on their journey to integration by supporting them to run their own cookery classes. 

To mark Refugee Week some of our chefs would like to share their stories with you. These stories are at times not easy to read, some involving torture, shootings and emotional distress (trigger warning). They are tales of inspirational humans who have survived the unthinkable, showing incredible resilience and strength of character. In sharing their stories they give us the opportunity to reflect on the role we can play in helping them to let go of their past and to build a bright future here in the UK.

Click on the title to read each of the chef’s stories. You will also find two of their favourite recipes which we invite you to cook this week.

Day 1

From Afghanistan to England, Habib uses food on his journey from surviving to thriving

Habib escapes the Taliban, using food as his tool to survive in the Afghan army; in the Calais refugee camp and now to thrive in the Big Smoke

Day 2

Birthday candles and tears: meeting Majeda in exile

Majeda was imprisoned by the Syrian government for helping to feed people whose homes had been bombed in the war. She managed to escape Syria and now uses food to continue her activism in exile.

Day 3

Life in Limbo, Elizabeth’s eight year wait

Nigerian chef Elizabeth left behind a successful career in Nigeria to come to the UK to be with her sisters after her mother died. She found herself waiting for 8 years as an illegal immigrant unable to work or receive benefits

Day 4

Lebanese wheelchair-user Ahmed shares life lessons on staying positive

Ahmed was shot during the war in Lebanon and will now use a wheelchair for life. He shares with us why he will never give up.

Day 5

Iranian mother-daughter duo take London by storm, one spoon of saffron at a time

Elahe was forced to leave behind her career as a psychologist in Iran and struggled to find work in the UK and learn English until she found Migrateful.

Interviews transcribed and written by Jess Thompson (Migrateful Founder). Photography by Federico Rivas and Anna Kidel.

Support Migrateful

Book a cookery class with one of our chefs here

Donate here

We are always looking for volunteers to test our recipes. One day we’d like to publish a recipe book. If you have any comments on the accuracy of the recipes shared in these blogs please email

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