Migrateful runs cookery classes led by refugees, asylum seekers and migrants struggling to integrate and access employment. The cookery classes provide ideal conditions not just for learning English and building confidence, but also for promoting contact and cultural exchange with the wider community.
The Migrateful idea was borne following discussions between founder, Jess Thompson, and a group of refugee women at a Time Bank project in Tower Hamlets. The women in the group were all very qualified, yet were unemployed because of language barriers and their qualifications were not recognised in the UK. When asked about the skills they could share with the group, many of them said they could cook. This gave Jess the idea to launch Migrateful in July 2017; with the aim to get the women into employment by supporting them to share their incredible cooking skills with the world.
Due to legal, linguistic and social barriers, finding work can be extremely difficult for many migrants. Being unable to provide for themselves and their families has significant negative effects on self-esteem and mental health. Migrateful’s mission is to empower and celebrate refugees and vulnerable migrants. We support migrants in a number of ways relating to wellbeing, employability and integration. We provide our chefs with wider social networks, improved English language and communication skills, a source of income, and opportunities to celebrate and share their culture.
When in-person cooking classes were disrupted in 2020, Migrateful pivoted to virtual classes, helping chefs and students to stay connected. Migrateful also launched a Distanced Dinner Party concept, with Londoners able to order authentic meals made by the chefs themselves. With lockdown restrictions set to lift later this year, Migrateful has launched a crowdfunding campaign, with the goal of setting up our own permanent cookery school at the heart of London. This will provide the chefs with a sense of continuity; a place that they can all grow into. Supporters can donate via our website.