Summary: Riverside food bar and cultural venue run by refugees
Where: Warsaw, Poland
Collaborators: Local activists
The ‘Kitchen from a Conflict Zone’ is not just a common truck food bar. Run by refugees, it is an open-sky restaurant and informal outdoor eating venue with a convenient sitting space located adjacent to the riverbanks and a busy pedestrian promenade, which is near to sandy beaches and volleyball courts.
Jarmiła Rybicka, one of the founders, says that the project aims to enable refugees not only to be productive, but also to gain confidence in going out and being present in the public spaces of the city. Jarmiła helps each of the workers to obtain the right work permit, and supports them in dealing with local administrative processes. Currently, Jarmiła’s team consists of 11 refugees, who either cook in the kitchen or contribute to the project in other ways, drawing on their own talents and skills. The team is mixed and represents different backgrounds, currently including women from Chechenia, Nepal, Balorus, Ukraine and Congo and men from Algeria and Egypt.
Every day, the ‘Kitchen from a Conflict Zone’ enables spontaneous encounters between refugees and Warsovians, offering delicious meals and snacks from the home countries of the kitchen’s cooks. Thanks to the flexible table and plant arrangements, it offers a welcoming, open aspect as well as a sense of intimacy. For visitors to the Warsaw riverbanks, the kitchen serves as an invitation to explore the richness of the heritage that newcomers bring to Poland, taste the food, and enjoy a conversation. In the current Polish political environment, comprising hostility towards refugees and asylum seekers, this grassroots initiative offers a small-scale possibility of inclusion, integration and welcome.