Recipes offer taste of normality from Syrian refugees

The World Food Programme (WFP) is turning to recipes to tell the stories of refugee families who fled the fighting in Syria

Millions of Syrians displaced by conflict are forced to live in camps in five countries including Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. Feeding these refugees has put enormous pressure on the WFP, which is desperately short of funding for its food voucher programme that enables families to buy and prepare the foods they want.

At the start of July the WFP halved the monthly allowance it gives to refugees in Lebanon to $13.50 per person and fears it may have to drop all funding to any refugees in Jordan who have managed to live outside camps.

Publishing recipes cooked by the families is a way of emphasising the human face of the refugee crisis, not just its numbers.

“There are numbers, charts and graphics everywhere,” said Berna Cetin, a communications officer with the WFP in Turkey. “But it is actually real people living this conflict. In situations like that one of the most important things is food and providing that food in as normal away as possible.”

The project gives the public a chance to learn about the traditional Syrian foods – from Nursel’s recipe for falafel, to Azhar and Hude’s recipe for lahmussiniye - while also telling the stories of the people who make them, what they endured when they fled Syria and what their hopes are for the future.

“We hope readers will understand what it is like to be a refugee by telling real human stories,” says Cetin.

The WFP has published five recipes to date, with more due to be released throughout the holy month of Ramadan.

Photo credit: WFP