Hope Workshop is a craft collective that allows women to express their creativity while also earning a little extra income for their families. Held in the women-only section of our community center in Hashemi Shamali, it also offers women refugees the chance to relax together and make new friends.
Although the workshop primary focuses on craft-making, the program recently expanded to include baking and cooking! Participants use CRP’s new kitchen to make healthy snacks and treats for our community’s children.
Shahad, Munah, Lamia and Huda are all participating in the new cooking program.
Can you tell us about your children’s snacks project and the idea behind it?
The meals and food we make have no preservatives, and are designed specifically for nurturing children. It is all about introducing new foods to their diets that they have not been exposed to yet. We also use alternatives such as replacing sugar with honey. We would add things to pizzas that kids might not usually eat. For example, we have noticed that kids would remove the bell peppers from the pizza and throw it away, so instead we replace them with spinach because this way it wouldn’t show and the kids would benefit from the nutrients and no food would go to waste.
What’s your favorite snack to make so far? Can you tell us more about it?
We really like the granola recipe, honestly it is very tasty and healthy. Kids don’t really like the taste of oatmeal, so we cut the granola up into little pieces that the kids would For example, I made it for my daughter, and she told me that she feels really full after having it and wouldn’t get hungry. We use natural ingredients in it like dates to make it sweeter and tahini which is good for building their bones.
Why do you think healthy food is important for children?
It is super important because we need to nourish their bodies. Children are in a growth phase, so every meal we make has everything in it that they would benefit from and help with their growth.
In your opinion, do you think families struggle with providing or feeding their children healthy meals?
Of course, a child doesn’t accept all sorts of food, so it all goes back to how the mom can hide those ingredients so her child would accept them. My kids, they do not like eating pasta with mushrooms so I replaced it with corn or other vegetables that they are willing to eat to ensure they would get the nutrients. A mom needs to know what her child likes and is willing to eat so they can incorporate it in their diet.Replacing other vegetables can be a great way to ensure your child is getting proper nutrition. It is also difficult for families to have access to multiple vegetables because it is costly. However, the mother should try to provide them even in little doses to help her child during growth.
What are other people’s opinions of the food you make?
They loved it! The children really enjoyed it and would try to make a game of it and guess what each food contains. They really liked the granola and would try to guess the ingredients. In my opinion, the granola has a high nutritional value even though it is small in size, and it is highly filling.
Do you enjoy working together? Why do you like cooking together?
Yes! It really brings out our team spirit. We spend a lot of time together, that strengthens the bond between us. It’s very important to have strong team work because we wouldn’t be able to produce delicious foods if we didn’t!
Is there anything else you want to let us know?
I really enjoy the team spirit and having someone to cook with. Usually in my home I cook alone, so it is nice to learn things from others and new ways to cook.
What did this project help you learn?
It taught us how to deal with children more and allowed us to get to know them personally.
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