The Birth of Le Pain Sans Frontières (LPSF)

Thanks Erasmus Mundus program that enables me to freely move around in Europe. In the stark contrast, a group of young people are striving for a life in rural communities. (Cathy Cao Xi)
ESAA, Events, Social Erasmus, Social Activities, .

Cathy Cao Xi is a recent graduate of Erasmus Mundus Master in Advanced development in Social Work (ADVANCE). She undertook her research semester in Paris, during which she developed the research project" Let Photos Speak About Young Displaced People’s Place-Identity" in rural communities in France. The research employed photovoices, a participatory research method, aiming to mobilize young refugees and asylum seekers who are displaced in rural communities to express their needs, in addition to assert their rights. During her frequent visits to young displaced people in rural communities, they often expressed feelings of helplessness brought about by their dim future prospects. Being young and being displaced, they are eager to make a living by themselves, either to seek employment or continue education. At the same time, young asylum seekers and refugees exhibited incredible strengths on cooking and cultural awareness. It was by leveraging such strengths that, Cathy initiated Le Pain Sans Frontières Project with joint efforts from young refugees and asylum seekers, social workers and volunteers from the community.

Le Pain Sans Frontières, or Bread No Borders, ډوډۍ Project aims to address refugee and asylum seekers’ employment issues in rural Europe through utilizing their talents on cooking. It offers 1) food made by asylum seekers/refugees 2) culinary workshops 3) food and cultural events. Beyond promoting asylum seeker and refugees’ employments, Bread No Borders/ Le Pain Sans Frontières Project intends to foster the understanding and integration between refugees, asylum seekers and local residents. Additionally, the cooking workshops can be provided by refugees and asylum seekers upon requests. The cooking workshops do not only offer cooking skills to participants, but also include an elaboration of the cultural elements embedded within the cuisine.

Overview of LPSF events in 2017

Thanks to the EMA and ESAA, the project is currently receiving technical support from ESAA incubator program and financial support from EASS community fund.2017 had witnessed the birth and launch of LPSF, three events had been taken place in the rural community between August to November 2017.

Event 1: Community Discussion, 18 Oct 2017

The event gathered refugees, asylum seekers, social workers, officers from Maison Pour Tous, volunteers from the community to explore how to collaborate with one another in the times of refugee crisis. The discussion particularly emphasized the strengths exhibited by refugees, with a specific focus on the Afghanistan and Sudanese refugees that resides in the local community. The focus group discussion enhanced partnership of participated community organizations. In the end, we agreed to co-organize a series of cooking workshop in the community in 2017, with refugees and asylum seekers playing the leadership roles and community organizations providing relevant support.

Upcoming event in December 15

The forthcoming event "Borderless Christmas Card" will be held on Dec 15, aiming to provide a Christmas dinner to 50 participants, including refugees, asylum seekers, volunteers in the community. More importantly, the event will launch a "Christmas card exchange" session that allows refugees, asylum seekers in Arcis to exchange Christmas cards with senders from Rome, in order to promote refugees and asylum seekers' communications with "outside" world. It is a collaborative work between a volunteer initiative based in Rome and community organizations in Arcis.

The event aims to collect 80 Christmas cards from 40 senders in Rome. Each sender contribute two cards, namely" Wish Card" and "Question Card". Senders are expected to write down wishes for refugees and asylum seekers in " Wish Card", which will be distributed to refugees and asylum seekers in Arcis. "Question Card" includes questions that senders in Rome would like to know from refugees and asylum seekers in Arcis. "Question Card" will also be sent to Arcis but will eventually be back to senders in Rome.

Media link:

Event 3: Neighborhood Potluck, 17 Nov 2017

Event 3 was a follow up of Afghanistan Bread ډوډۍ Making Workshop. The refugees, asylum seekers and participated local residents had started to communicate with one another, they planned a casual gathering in one refugee's apartment.

Event 2: Afghanistan Bread ډوډۍ Making Workshop, 25 Oct 2017

Events 2 was a cooking workshop led by two asylum seekers and supported by volunteers and social workers. Masoom, a baker from the province of Nangarhar in Afghanistan, had over 10 years baking experience before he fleeing to France. He led a workshop on 25 Oct 2017 and taught 10 participants from neighborhood to cook four types of Afghan bread. Participants included young children, adults, and elderly from the neighborhood. Throughout the event, participants showed curiously to learn and tried to make Afghan breads by their own. The participants, refugees, and asylum seekers actively discussed the similarities and differences between French cuisine and Afghan cuisine. In an interview with one participant, she pointed out the event facilitates a better understanding of refugees and asylum seekers, so as to build up a positive image of refugees and asylum seekers.

Media links:
Event 2:
Interview with one participant:

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