In December 2023, at the Initiative premises, we held the first activity as part of the "Cultural Paperclip" project - the "International Cook & Chat" workshop – in an atmosphere filled with enticing aromas of dishes with sentimental value for each participant. The event brought together members of the local population, refugees and people displaced from Ukraine for a unique cultural exchange of food that is traditionally prepared in the area where the participants are from. The workshop was organised to promote cultural integration, and a diverse array of dishes was presented, reflecting the rich palette of cultural origins, from traditional Cuban delicacies to local Croatian specialties.
However, the true potential of this workshop lies in the creation of relationships between participants of different origins, cultures and traditions - each person became a cook and storyteller of their prepared dishes.
In addition to the exchange of different traditions and cultures, the workshop also served as an informal language learning session, thanks to intensive communication among participants in a relaxed atmosphere, thus facilitating the acquisition of the Croatian language. This added value not only helps with practical integration but also increases the participants' ability to connect with their new environment on a deeper level.
The "Cultural Paperclip" project is focused on the social and cultural integration of refugees in the area of the City of Zagreb. The goal of the project is to strengthen social ties and encourage refugees' feelings of belonging to the new community, by creating opportunities for refugees and local residents to come together. Cultural Paperclip activities, including this workshop, contribute to breaking down barriers, building mutual trust and promoting acceptance among different communities. By encouraging an inclusive social environment, the project simultaneously nurtures individual belonging while respecting different cultural, social and religious identities.
The City of Zagreb financed the project for 12 months. You can find out more about the project here.