Tayybeh: Refugee Women Bring the Flavors of Syria to Canada
by Nadine Arab
One year ago, in the heart of Vancouver, a celebration of Syrian cuisine was born as known as Tayybeh. The initiative, founded by Cairene Nihal Elwan, aims to empower Syrian women in Vancouver through their community based dining experiences. Thanks to the women’s mad cooking skills and their authentic mouthwatering dishes, they now have access to a steady income that helps them support their families and attain financial independence.
Elwan, international development consultant, organizes pop-up dinner events around the city through her initiative. Today, Tayybeh’s dinner events are usually held every six to eight weeks, selling out their 150-seats in no time. Their last event was on December 2nd which was sold out immediately. As Tayybeh gained public attention and amassed a large fan base in the city, they ended up opening their own catering company.
Tayybeh is not just an act of kindness and a sign of hospitality, it’s also a way of building connections. In 2015, over 25,000 Syrian refugees arrived in Canada and many of them had no homes. The initiative has helped the Syrian women make home out of the hosting land and make friends and family out of the kind-hearted Canadians. All while doing the one thing they love the most, cooking.