IMPACT

Restaurant Hires Refugee Women To Break 'Vicious Cycle' Of Hiring Bias That Holds Them Back

04/14/2015 06:18 pm ET | Updated Apr 15, 2015

A restaurant is serving up some new opportunities for refugee and migrant women.

Mazí Mas, a pop-up restaurant currently located at the Ovalhouse Theatre in London and founded by 28-year-old Nikandre Kopcke in 2012, offers employment and teaches valuable skills to women who are often overlooked in the job industry.

Happy happy days in the Mazí Mas kitchen at Ovalhouse!

For migrant and refugee women, finding a job can be a difficult task, and they run into various forms of discrimination while looking for employment.

"We're working with highly qualified women, including a doctor who had her own medical practice in Sri Lanka, but their qualifications aren't recognized in this country," Kopcke told the Guardian. "A lot of them are long-term unemployed. Employers pass them over in favor of younger people who have a recent employment history. It's a vicious cycle."

Mazí Mas seeks to encourage migrant and refugee women to enter the job market, making them less susceptible to exploitation, and help them become less dependent on others for income, according to BuzzFeed. The social enterprise connects with the women through grassroots organizations. The restaurant, which serves global home cooking, has six women, from Brazil, Ethiopia, Iran, Peru, Senegal and Turkey, currently working as chefs. Another four or five are going through their training program and learning transferable skills like kitchen management and menu building, Mashable reported.

(c) Mara DeKlein

So far, the enterprise has boasted positive results.

"All of our chefs have secured further employment in the food industry through their work with Mazí Mas, and three are in the process of developing their ideas for food businesses," the pop-up's fundraising site reads.

Last week, the social enterprise surpassed its goal of raising 15,000 British pounds, (about $22,000), through a crowdfunded campaign, and hopes to set up shop at a permanent location within the next two years, Mashable reported.

Kopcke -- whose restaurant idea was inspired by her godmother, a Greek immigrant to the U.S. who didn't get to live out her dreams of opening a bakery -- hopes that the Mazí Mas model will be replicated by other businesses.

"This model is infinitely adaptable because it is a systemic problem," Kopcke told the Guardian. "I'd like to see it multiplied all over the world, getting people to work and changing women's lives."

Happy International Women's Day!Today we're paying tribute to the unrecognised, unpaid, and undervalued care work that...

To learn more about Mazí Mas or donate, visit their fundraising page here.

Also on HuffPost:

  • Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
    ANKARA, TURKEY - FEBRUARY 11: A Syrian kid, fled with her family from attacks of Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) from Syria, is seen in front of a hovel as they live in harsh conditions in cold winter time in Turkey's capital Ankara's suburbs on February 11, 2015. (Photo by Gokhan Balci/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
  • OZAN KOSE via Getty Images
    A syrian refugee child walks during heavy snowfall in Istanbul on February 18, 2015. Istanbulites woke up to find the famed minarets and domes of the historic city's skyline layered in snow after a heavy fall overnight that has still shown no sign of abating. AFP PHOTO/OZAN KOSE (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
    ANKARA, TURKEY - FEBRUARY 11: Syrian kids, fled with their families from attacks of Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) from Syria, play with snow, in front of a hovel as they live in harsh conditions in cold winter time in Turkey's capital Ankara's suburbs on February 11, 2015. (Photo by Gokhan Balci/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
  • ALI DIA via Getty Images
    A Syrian refugee child walks amidst snow in the Marj al-Khokh camp on February 20, 2015 on the southern town of Marjayoun. Blizzards dumped a blanket of snow over Israel, Jordan and Lebanon, with many residents urged to stay in their homes because of blocked or icy roads. AFP PHOTO / ALI DIA (Photo credit should read ALI DIA/AFP/Getty Images)
  • STR via Getty Images
    Syrian refugees stand in a makeshift camp covered in snow on February 20, 2015 on the outskirts of the Lebanese town of Baalbek. Blizzards dumped a blanket of snow over Israel, Jordan and Lebanon, with many residents urged to stay in their homes because of blocked or icy roads. AFP PHOTO / STR (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
  • STR via Getty Images
    Syrian refugees walk in a makeshift camp covered in snow on February 20, 2015 on the outskirts of the Lebanese town of Baalbek. Blizzards dumped a blanket of snow over Israel, Jordan and Lebanon, with many residents urged to stay in their homes because of blocked or icy roads. AFP PHOTO / STR (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
  • ALI DIA via Getty Images
    Syrian refugees' tents are seen covered in snow in the Marj al-Khokh camp on February 20, 2015 on the southern town of Marjayoun. Blizzards dumped a blanket of snow over Israel, Jordan and Lebanon, with many residents urged to stay in their homes because of blocked or icy roads. AFP PHOTO / ALI DIA (Photo credit should read ALI DIA/AFP/Getty Images)
  • OZAN KOSE via Getty Images
    Syrian refugees walk along a snow covered street in Istanbul on February 18, 2015. Istanbulites woke up to find the famed minarets and domes of the historic city's skyline layered in snow after a heavy fall overnight that has still shown no sign of abating. AFP PHOTO/OZAN KOSE (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
  • OZAN KOSE via Getty Images
    A syrian refugee child asks for alms during heavy snowfall in Istanbul on February 18, 2015. Istanbulites woke up to find the famed minarets and domes of the historic city's skyline layered in snow after a heavy fall overnight that has still shown no sign of abating. AFP PHOTO/OZAN KOSE (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
  • ALI DIA via Getty Images
    Syrian refugees clear snow outside their tents in the Marj al-Khokh camp on February 20, 2015 on the southern town of Marjayoun. Blizzards dumped a blanket of snow over Israel, Jordan and Lebanon, with many residents urged to stay in their homes because of blocked or icy roads. AFP PHOTO / ALI DIA (Photo credit should read ALI DIA/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
    ANKARA, TURKEY - FEBRUARY 11: A Syrian kid, fled with her family from attacks of Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) from Syria, is seen in front of a hovel as they live in harsh conditions in cold winter time in Turkey's capital Ankara's suburbs on February 11, 2015. (Photo by Gokhan Balci/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
  • Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
    ANKARA, TURKEY - FEBRUARY 11: Syrian kids, fled with their families from attacks of Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) from Syria, play with snow, in front of a hovel as they live in harsh conditions in cold winter time in Turkey's capital Ankara's suburbs on February 11, 2015. (Photo by Gokhan Balci/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
  • Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
    ANKARA, TURKEY - FEBRUARY 11: Syrian kids, fled with their families from attacks of Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) from Syria, are seen inside of a hovel as they live in harsh conditions in cold winter time in Turkey's capital Ankara's suburbs on February 11, 2015. (Photo by Gokhan Balci/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
  • Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
    ANKARA, TURKEY - FEBRUARY 11: Hovels are seen where a group of Syrians, fled from attacks of Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) from Syria, live during snowy cold winter time in Turkey's capital Ankara's suburbs on February 11, 2015. (Photo by Gokhan Balci/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
  • Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
    ANKARA, TURKEY - FEBRUARY 11: Syrian kids, fled with their families from attacks of Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) from Syria, play with snow, in front of a hovel as they live in harsh conditions in cold winter time in Turkey's capital Ankara's suburbs on February 11, 2015. (Photo by Gokhan Balci/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
  • Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
    ANKARA, TURKEY - FEBRUARY 11: A Syrian kid, fled with her family from attacks of Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) from Syria, is seen in front of a hovel as they live in harsh conditions in cold winter time in Turkey's capital Ankara's suburbs on February 11, 2015. (Photo by Gokhan Balci/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Suggest a correction
Comments

CONVERSATIONS