Berlin, Germany – A handful of volunteer cooks carry trays of meat and pots of steaming soup to tables in a church in the Prenzlauer Berg neighbourhood of east Berlin.
Afghans, Syrians, Iraqis and others who came as part of the huge wave of migration to the country in recent years sit at the cafeteria tables alongside local Germans and others.
Once a week, refugees, Germans and international students and workers come here – a collective cooking project called Meet ‘n Eat – to cook and eat together in the hope of building stronger bonds between their respective communities.
Zabihullah Karimi, a 31-year-old Afghan asylum seeker, says the weekly meetup has been a good opportunity for him to “meet people from different cultures and share the food of our homeland”.
Juliane Wolf, one of Meet ‘n Eat’s founders, says there has also been an immensely positive response from local residents of the neighbourhood.
“[Refugees] had the camp food and very little money to go to restaurants,” she told Al Jazeera of the situation for most residents in a now-closed refugee camp where she used to volunteer.
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