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July 20, 2018

Syrian Refugee Women Bake Bread to Remember Home

Bread plays an important role in many cultures around the world. For Syrian refugees in Lebanon, it’s a link to their country which has been devastated by war. Women living in refugee camps have taken the lead in creating makeshift bakeries, resulting in jobs and income for women. They are contributing to the food supply while also giving their fellow Syrians a taste of home.

ActionAid has been working with Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Jordan since 2013. To support this work, go to:

The bread these Syrian refugee women bake is believed to be similar to the oldest bread in the world, dating back more than 14,000 years ago. Charred crumbs left behind in a pre-historic fireplace show that early humans were making bread long before agriculture and farming emerged. The ancient flat bread is very similar to pita bread and was made from wild grains ground into flour.

Social Activism Expressed Through Cake

Rose McAdoo shares stories about immigration, the environment, and farming practices through cake. Whisk Me Away Cakes, a company created by Rose, is her way of igniting two-way dialogue surrounding global crises. What makes her cakes unique is that she collects recipes from many cultures around the world and incorporates them into her cakes. She spent three months traveling through East Africa, spending time with tribespeople and learning the ways they cooked and shared stories through their food.

For example, at a joint effort welcoming refugees between UNICEF and the United Nations, she made a cake using recipes shared by refugees and asylum seekers who’ve resettled in New York. The ingredients that went into the cake were important crops and exports from each country. Each layer of the three-tiered desert signified the countries with the most refugees worldwide: Syria, Afghanistan, and South Sudan. Rose hopes she can bring people together through the power of food, bridging communities by breaking bread with neighbors.

American William Anh Nguyen Arrested in Vietnam for Protesting

On his way to Singapore to attend his graduation, U.S. citizen William Anh Nguyen stopped in Ho Chi Min City, Vietnam. He attended a peaceful protest, along with thousands of others, fighting against an economic policy that could grant China long term leases to Vietnamese land. William was arrested and has been in jail since June.

It’s being speculated by lawyers that his sentence could go one of two ways. The prosecutors could give him a lighter sentence because of an improvement in relations between Vietnam and the United States in recent years. On the other hand, the prosecutors could be looking to make an example out of William and charge him under a special provision where he could face up to seven years in jail, claiming he was “encouraging others to be violent.” He’s scheduled to stand trial soon. Since he’s been in jail, his sister has created a social media campaign hoping to garner attention to her brother’s cause.