'Food is tradition': Cookbook highlighting experience of refugees living in Canada
KITCHENER -- A Rohingya refugee who is now building a new life in Kitchener is sharing recipes from his home.
The recipe will be included in a new cookbook launched by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, aimed at highlighting the lives of refugees living in Canada.
Faisal Mohammed will share a recipe for Duú Fiça, a meal he made frequently when he was living in a refugee camp in Bangladesh.
"I spent almost 10 to 11 years in Bangladesh, where I wasn't able to call a home because it wasn't safe and they could kick us out at any time they want," Mohammed said.
Mohammed is Rohingya. He and his family came to Kitchener nine years ago fleeing for a better life.
"Coming here, it opened our mind, give us hope, a chance to live again," he said.
He's sharing his story and his traditional Bangladesh recipe in the new cookbook, which features recipes and stories from 14 refugees across Canada.
"I want to show our cultural food to the world so that they know we are also people like them," Mohammed said.
"Food is tradition and culture," said Lauren La Rose, a spokesperson for UNHCR Canada. "We just thought it was a great way to convey and tell that story."
Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, is also featured in the cookbook. He left Somalia for Canada in 1993.
"Refugees are seen as people who are just recipients of aid, who don't really have anything to contribute, that they don't have a complex history or background," he said. "I think in a very small way, this cookbook demonstrates that humans are refugees."
Former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson is also included in the book. Clarkson immigrated from Hong Kong during the Second World War.
"Certainly a lot of people come to Canada and they lose what was their original tongue," Clarkson said. "They never lose that feeling of the food they used to eat."
An anonymous donor will make a contribution to UNCHR in support of refugees and their families for every copy of the book downloaded.