By Van Anh Nguyen
“Sunday lunch” is 1 year project that run by Menedék – Hungarian Association for Migrants, project manager is Ms. Lovig Tímea. Menedék is one of the biggest NGO in Hungary has been existed 17 years with approximately 40 employees. They are dealing with asylum seekers, refugees, and immigrants issues.
Previously, the Association organized some events to let Hungarian and foreigners approach each other such as concerts, parties, and culture conferences. However, later on with the idea that is directly connection will be more effective, they run “Sunday lunch” project which funded by European Integration Fund. The project’s goal is to establish cultural and interpersonal ties between host society members and migrants with the help of gastronomy. During the project, five sets of one Hungarian and one migrant family units mutually invited their partner families for lunch. Five immigrant families are from Serbia, China, Nigeria, Mongolia, and Afghanistan. Based on these lunch encounters, a migrant cookbook and several publications were produced. In addition, young film directors were invited to create short films inspired by these lunches.
I had a chance to understand more about this interesting project with Ms. Lovig Tímea, project manager, though a really friendly conservation.
- Could you please say few sentences about program of project?
There were 10 lunch of 5 sets between 1 Hungarian family and 1 migrant family. Each family has at least 1 child. And the final lunch include whole 10 families and visitors (approximately 400 people).
- What are responsibilities behind the scene?
There was a colleague was responsible for choosing matched families in a couple, helping Hungarian how to receive the migrant family, learning about their culture at meal table, religion, the way of eating for example… The film production Török Ferenc chose 5 your directors from University to film the pair of family’s lunches. And we had great product in DVD in the end of the project.
- How did the families react after each pair meeting?
They were enthusiastic. First they were afraid, a bit closed. But then the barrier was broken step by step. Finally, they really appreciated the opportunity to participate the project, had a good time with foreigners and understand more about extremely different culture
- How can they communicate each other? And whether language is a barrier for them?
We have very multi-language in the communication: Hungarian, English, French and Chinese. However, it is not really a barrier for us. We always found out some way to match them.
- What is the most exciting memory in your head about this successful project?
That was children’s communication. Sometime it is really coincidental. A Chinese family which is young mother speaks Hungarian, but her child speaks only Chinese. Fortunately, the child from Hungarian family, she is learning Chinese. Hence, it made an exciting motivation for them to be closer together.
“Sunday lunch” had a really good attention and imagination from Media and affected effectively to relationship between Hungarian community and Migrant community.