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Life is better for refugee cooks one year on

Life is better for refugee cooks one year on

Life has changed for the better for the women who work in Wellington’s Pomegranate Kitchen – a pioneering business that provides employment opportunities for women from refugee backgrounds.

A recent internal evaluation found that the chefs who work for Pomegranate Kitchen have increased their practical cooking skills, as well as their interpersonal skills such as communication and working with other cultures. Their English has also improved and they've increased their social networks.

One of the women has even gone on to find work as a meat packer with another Wellington food supplier.

Pomegranate Kitchen co-founder Rebecca Stewart says the results of the evaluation are very encouraging.

“Setting up a social enterprise has turned out to be a lot more challenging than we expected, so it’s great to get confirmation that it’s worth it. It’s particularly exciting that Fatima has found work outside Pomegranate Kitchen as one of our long-term goals is to help women from refugee backgrounds move into the mainstream workforce.”

Pomegranate Kitchen was set up in October 2016. It’s a catering company that employs seven former refugees on a part-time basis to prepare tasty Middle Eastern food for delivery in central and suburban Wellington. The company has recently started catering weddings as well.

The evaluation was carried out through interviews with four women who had worked in the kitchen for a year. It compared their responses in October 2017 with those in October 2016, and found that all the women reported improvements in the six areas being evaluated.

“‘[I’m] happy because people are interested to hear about our job, about Pomegranate Kitchen, and learn about my culture and our food we offer to people. The people enjoy learning about our food,” said one of the women.


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