Women Connect First prepare for World Café launch

A group of refugees living in Cardiff have unveiled plans to launch a World Café.

© Niamh Colclough

© Niamh Colclough

Supported by Riverside-based charity Women Connect First, the group cook every week for locals, offering a selection of food from the Middle East. They are now seeking to officially register their space with Cardiff Council so they can set it up as a business.

Up until March 2018 the women raised £5,000 through donations to the café – a proportion of this has been spent on purchasing new equipment.

Overseeing the project is Amal Beyrouty, who has been with the women since it began. She said: “They are still in the process of learning skills, they’ve done starting a business course, but they still need the skills to run a business.”

Women Connect First has helped the women seek advice, socialise with other women and learn new skills including English and IT. The charity’s Operational Director, Maria Mesa, said: “Amal and the women were the brains behind the idea. They came up with the idea. They had a brainwave about what they wanted.

“It was quite an accident that it became such a big thing. Initially, it was just to share food and to raise a little bit of money for activities, but it’s big now. 

“Women Connect First has invested quite a lot of money, and of course the staff have invested lots of time.

“I think it’s been amazing, it’s been very successful.” 

If the World Café is a success, the women are hoping to cater for events and meetings by various organisations. They would also be looking to launch a weekly takeaway lunch service.