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QPASTT launched How to Cook Hope, a community cookbook created by participants of our Women’s Skillshare Groups, at a vibrant community Nowruz celebration on Friday, 17 March in Forest Lake.

Skillshare Group members dreamed up the cookbook from their desire to share their culture as a way of thanking Australia for welcoming them.  The cookbook features recipes and stories of women from Iran, Afghanistan and Syria who now call Queensland home.

The Women’s Skillshare Groups use a peer learning model to enable newly arrived refugee women to engage in learning experiences and share their skills and expertise with each other. “The (group members) have danced hope, sung hope, baked hope and swam hope,” said Zainab Sakha, group coordinator speaking at the launch.  “Now they invite you to cook hope.

“Refugee women can experience higher rates of loneliness and mental health distress because of fewer opportunities to participate in social and economic life,” says QPASTT Co-CEO Sally Stewart.  “The Women’s Skillshare Groups enable refugee women to engage in peer to peer learning while strengthening their community networks and confidence to participate, whether through creating their own business, applying for work, or just reaping the benefits of social connection.” 

The launch featured a speech and cooking demonstration from Skillshare Group member Hanaa Rahoum, originally from Syria.

“My GP and counsellor encouraged me and my daughters to join the Women’s Group,” says Hanaa.  Everyone was very welcoming.  I felt really, really happy.  They said I could do anything I want here – sharing my skills, doing crafts and other activities. I really felt like I belonged in a way I hadn’t felt at any other group.”

Since joining the Women’s Skillshare Groups, participants have gone on to start businesses and microenterprises, including a restaurant in Logan and a cake making business on Brisbane’s Northside.

How to Cook Hope is available to purchase in print and digital formats and all proceeds fund programs to support the wellbeing of refugee communities in Brisbane.

Photo album of the launch of How to Cook Hope

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