Norwich Café playing its part in helping refugees and asylum seekers

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine reaches its one year anniversary, over 8 million Ukrainian refugees have been recorded across Europe.

But one café in Norwich has been helping refugees and asylum seekers gain valuable employment skills as they start their new lives in this country.

Photo: The Zainab Project Café (Joe Bunker)

The Zainab Project is a café run by volunteers and is offering employment to refugees and asylum seekers to develop their skills to increase their chances of success in future employment.

Sumeyhat Musa-Akanbi, an asylum seeker herself from Nigeria, was one of the first volunteers to start helping out with the project.

Photo: Sumeyhat working in the kitchen (image courtesy of The Zainab Project)

She said, “I love it because I am contributing in my own little way to help others.”

 “We train them in different ways… we train them in the kitchen… we train them in the café.”

“We try to make them feel at home, like they are welcome.”

She also went on to explain how the project offers various different programmes to the asylum and refugee communities in the city, including workshops on how to register for a GP and access NHS healthcare.

On the 6th February the Zainab Project also ran a knitting group, to help refugee and asylum seekers come together and help them integrate into the local community.

Sumeyhat said that since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022 they have seen a number of Ukrainian refugees attending the community programmes.

The Zainab project was co-founded last year by Sarah Wyn, who realised there was a need for work experience and voluntary work for the refugee and asylum seeker community here in Norwich.

The Café, which is located on Hall Road, offers a range of different food, including falafel wraps, baklava and lentil soup, with all the proceeds going back into the project. It’s open on Thursday’s from 11AM to 6PM and on Friday’s and Saturday’s from 10AM to 4PM.

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