Wealthy Berlin home owners are welcoming refugees in to assist with hosting dinner parties

Music 14/07/2016

The New York Times has just released a story about an under-the-table exchange of service where wealthy Berlin locals are taking in refugee women to help them in the kitchen. And in a completely empowering way that celebrates their culture.

Twice a month Anna Gyulai Gaal, a Hungarian born Journalist turns her apartment into a supper club where she invites strangers via the dining service "With Locals" to her home to enjoy a meal for $40.

The women she invites into her home then help prepare the meal in their cultural way, while chatting to guests about their lives, where they're from and what they're into.

The donations are then given to the women as a means for them to earn income, since their refugee status bans them from earning the conventional way.

Ms. Gyulai Gaal started the dinners with Boryana Ivanova, a Bulgarian-born refugee activist. “I realized one day that the newcomers — I don’t like the word ‘refugees’ — need to interact with locals. Integration can only begin by an initial meeting,” said Ms. Gyulai Gaal, fanning her arm across the room where the dinner party was in full swing.

The Syrian and Middle Eastern feasts feature traditional dishes including tabbouleh salad, lamb-and-rice-stuffed grape leaves and bazalya, a mixture of minced lamb, beef, peas, carrots and cashews. Th most popular among guests was rgaga, sometimes called borgaga, a chicken and caramelized onion pie from southern Syria.

"We can leave when we want, but coming to Anna's feels like a second home for us." said one of the women.

Click through the gallery to see the photos from one dining event.

[Photos: New York Times]