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Cooking up a storm in Copenhagen, Denmark: Ishtar

Oak Foundation Denmark / Partner story

Photo: © Ishtar

In the Nørrebro neighbourhood of Copenhagen, women gather and cook together, but this is not your average cooking school. At Ishtar, this group of women and their community-style cooking serves a purpose: to bring people together.

Project Ishtar, started by Manal Jacob from Iraq, provides women who have migrated to Denmark a place to meet, along with a kitchen and shop to prepare and sell traditional, home-cooked meals. “I started this project because women are strong,” says Manal. “I think we have resources we can bring to society at large.”

Not only does this provide the women with an opportunity for financial gain, but it is also space where they can socialise and connect. “It is important to me to make my own money. It is important to me to get out of my house, to go to work and do something meaningful,” says one of the women who works at Ishtar.

The organisation shares the knowledge and passion for Middle Eastern cuisine with its participants, and also greater Danish society. It improves the quality of life for migrant women by helping them to fight social isolation, and also by establishing connections with the larger community in a bid to promote inclusion, tolerance and understanding of diversity.

This grant falls under Oak Foundation Denmark, which supports broad, professional, holistic and innovative approaches that tackle social issues at the root. To find out more, read about Oak Foundation Denmark Programme strategy or visit the Oak Foundation Denmark website here (in Danish).