Darjeeling Express restaurateur Asma Khan is proudly supporting The Lotus Flower charity for 2019, by raising funds to establish groundbreaking new cafés for women and girl ISIS survivors.
The social enterprise cafés are an extension to existing women and girl centres set up by The Lotus Flower at camps in Kurdistan, northern Iraq. Each café will provide conflict survivors with a safe space to meet friends and eat healthy, high-quality food.
Passionate about the importance of food within our heritage, Asma believes teaming up with The Lotus Flower will make a real difference to women and girl survivors in 2019. “It is empowering. We need to link up, and food is a great way to do that. Food is the chain that binds us.”
Founder Taban Shoresh says: “We are thrilled to be working with Asma on the next stage of The Lotus Flower journey. A real institution in the food world and an inspiring figure to thousands, Asma is the ideal partner for our pioneering café project.”
With a shortage of culturally accepted public spaces for displaced women and girls to gather, as well as a lack of employment opportunities, it is difficult for them to rebuild their communities. Crucially, the camp cafés will be managed and operated by the women themselves. With the initial equipment, structures, capital goods and raw ingredients provided by The Lotus Flower, the cafés will enable skills-building, communication and healing. The women will retain any profits as an income, while furthering their cooking skills and gaining vital business knowledge.
The Lotus Flower is a non-profit which provides safe, supportive environments for women and girl survivors of the atrocities committed by ISIS in 2014. With two women’s centres already established in Rwanga province and Domiz 2, a third centre in Essyan is soon to open. To date, the charity has supported more than 5,000 survivors who have suffered unimaginable ordeals – including rape, trafficking, slavery and forced marriage.
By investing in their futures, The Lotus Flower enables women and girls to be at the heart of social and economic regeneration. They take part in a range of successful programmes that align with Sustainable Development Goals, including education, mental health, livelihood, wellbeing, human rights, gender equality and peace-building.