AUT refugee cookbook celebrates diversity

April 9, 2018

AUT refugee cookbook celebrates diversity

Lian-Hong Brebner (left) and Ashleigh Ali hope the cookbook will inspire change in the refugee community. Photo: Melanie Saluni

Volunteers from AUT University are creating a cookbook which they hope will connect people through a universal love for food.

The book will include recipes and stories from a group of families with refugee backgrounds who now reside in New Zealand.

AUT diversity manager Lian-Hong Brebner says the project aims to engage students in a meaningful way, allowing them to give back to their communities.

Ms Brebner says funds raised from the cookbook will fund a scholarship for a student with a refugee background studying at AUT.

"Currently, there are very few of these in the country."

Ms Brebner is organising the project alongside AUT Professor Alison McIntosh. The pair share a passion for helping displaced youths obtain higher education.

"The aim is to enable young people from these communities to improve the well-being of themselves, their families and their communities while contributing to the wider society," says Professor McIntosh.

Together they have rallied  students volunteer within AUT from journalism, culinary arts, and photography studies to combine their unique skills in creating the eclectic book.

A traditional Kurdish meal. Families with refugee backgrounds will contribute to the book. Photo: Melanie Saluni

Ashleigh Ali is an AUT student creating a recipe for the Kurdish section of the book.

Ms Ali says she is proud to be working on such a positive project and believes it is something the refugee community will celebrate.

"It's a beautiful idea that focuses on the positives. The beauty of what our communities can create, how we show our love and how we connect."

Ms Brebner says they need significant sponsorship to be able to create a scholarship fund through the proceeds of cookbook sales.

"We are seeking to raise $25,000 to cover the printing costs for the coffee-table edition of this cookbook.

"We're reaching out to New Zealand businesses, philanthropists, and organisations to help us meet the cost."

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