HummusTown’s Syrian Cuisine: “Refugees Want Parity, Not Charity”

Raffaella Jarvis, Reporter, Club Leader

Almost two years ago, Shaza Saker (third from the right in yellow) was watching the evening news when the heartbreaking stories of the Syrian refugees fleeing their homes because of the war in Syria came on the screen.  At that moment, she realized she didn’t want to sit any longer doing nothing, knowing she could do something to help. No longer could she wait and just hope that the innocent refugees’ situation would improve, or simply “rely on big institutions” to do the job, she decided that she needed to do something to help them herself now.  Shaza knew Syrians in Rome, being a Syrian herself who been born and had grown up in Rome. She wondered how she would feel if she, like the refugees of today, had managed to find safety after escaping a war zone.  She understood how unsure they would be about the next step to take in a new city, with a new language, a new culture, and in a totally new environment. How would she get back on her feet if she was in their position?



So Shaza decided to start a project, which she named HummusTown, a catering service, that cooks, packages and delivers traditional (and delicious) Syrian food to help Syrian refugees get back on their feet. It does this by giving Syrian refugees jobs and helping them integrate into society by sharing their food and culture. This project not only helps refugees, but it raises awareness for Italians to new and tasty cuisines. It also provides Italians with a way to see refugees in a different light, as contributors and not a burden to society.  At first, Shaza started small, with only three refugees working with her. The small group quickly grew bigger, with a staff of thirteen people. It now not only includes Syrian refugees but other refugees as well.  Passion and enthusiasm to work hard is a characteristic of each and every one of the participants because Shaza is giving them the chance they need to start their life anew.


Shaza stresses that this collaboration is not a charity but an opportunity, “a stepping stone” towards a better future. The people involved don’t want pity, they want to work. She urges people not to just sigh and feel bad when the news of refugees comes on the news, but rather to, “get involved with the people right in front of you” and help make a difference. To Shaza, helping people comes naturally, her selfless and kind-hearted nature changes people’s lives for the better every day. She explains that starting a project like this has made her hungry to reach new goals, “the more you do, the more you want to do”, she said. This project needs support. If you feel helpless when you see so much destruction and hardship forced on people around the world, and you don’t know how to help, think about supporting HummusTown.  Hire them to cook and cater food for your next social event.  Not only will you be eating exquisite and diverse food, but you have also done something concrete to make someone’s day count.