For many,the first step towards doing "something good" is often the biggestbarrier. It is difficult to get around to doing something, as we do not knowwhere to start. Yet it often turns out that the best things come frominitiatives of people who "just started with an idea." We share SahrNgungor's story with you.
For two anda half years now, Sahr has been organising an "open meal" forrefugees every month. Through his project, he tries to bring people togetherand celebrate the diversity of Amsterdam. As the event grew, it became home topeople of up to 50 nationalities, and today Sahr never expects fewer than 100participants at his meals. Together they enjoy the company, music, deliciousfood and endless conversations.
The ideabehind the meals is that everyone brings something to eat for each other, whichis then enjoyed together with new faces, including refugees. The goal that Sahris trying to achieve with the event differs significantly from what many peopleassume is the goal of organisations working with refugees. During the meeting,it is not permitted to donate money, nor is any other form of help given. Theaim is to ensure that people treat each other as equals, that the refugees aresimply seen as people, just as when you meet new people in everyday life.
"The situation of a refugee is characterised by people whoconstantly want to help, who constantly ask you what your problems are,"says Sahr. "That's why this is an Open Meal with refugees, not for refugees."
He explainsthat people in refugee situations have the most difficulty meeting people andbuilding a network. That is why Sahr creates a safe place with the Open Mealswhere inclusiveness is paramount, so that everyone can just really bethemselves.
In additionto Open Meals, Sahr is also the founder of Diversity House, a charity thattries to establish similar projects. One such project is Painting withRefugees, which also aims to bring people together to promote diversity. Hesays: "For me as a human being, I enjoy seeing other people come together.That's very special to me." "Someone who has never been to an eventlike this can expect nothing less than a 'cultural surprise'," says Sahr. "Weoffer people the chance to get to know refugees as equals, and for refugees tobecome an active part of the local community."
DiversityHouse brings people together to celebrate their differences during events andactivities where people can be themselves and share their cultural diversity.