New Community Kitchen in Old Saida Improves Livelihood Opportunities for Women in the Area
Located at the waterfront of South Lebanon, in the heart of Old Saida, Tawlet Saida receives locals and visitors alike offering them traditional warm meals. The recently inaugurated community kitchen and restaurant was made possible through funds from Norway, within the framework of the Lebanon Host Communities Support Programme – LHSP; Tawlit Saida has empowered women by teaching them new skills and offering them job opportunities.
- “I was very unhappy before, and would spend most of my time at home or at my neighbor’s house,” said 27-year-old Arabia, one of the women who participated in the project. She added, “I never imagined I would reach this level to be honest. I have become stronger.”
During the project, 25 women received training on a variety of kitchen-related skills, including hygiene practices, food quality control, and safety management. The women were later offered job opportunities and some of them now receive a monthly salary which helps them support their families.
Among the women whose life took a positive turn as a result of the project was Caroline from Lebanon. “This project built my character. It gave me a motive in my life to work, I had never had a job,” said Caroline, “It taught me how to interact with people who come from different areas and nationalities."
The new project in Old Saida, which was also supported by the Hariri Foundation and the Municipality of Saida, relies on local agricultural products to help support farmers in the area. It offers a wide array of traditional Lebanese, Syrian, and Palestinian dishes to low-income households and nearby businesses and shops. It hosts visitors from Lebanon and abroad and encourages tourism in the area.
“I was very unhappy before, and would spend most of my time at home or at my neighbor’s house,” said 27-year-old Arabia, one of the women who participated in the project. She added, “I never imagined I would reach this level to be honest. I have become stronger.”
On May 27, an inauguration was held to mark the official opening of the kitchen. The event was attended by Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, MP Bahia Hariri, the Ambassador of Norway in Lebanon Lynn Natasha Lindh, and the General Coordinator of the United Nation in Lebanon, Sigrid Kaag.
Beyond teaching women how to cook and generating job opportunities, Tawlet Saida helped boost the confidence of those who took part in the experience and promoted cultural diversity and tourism in the area. The kitchen created and restored hope in the lives of several women, providing them with the skills they need to live a happy, independent life.