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    Community meals welcome new arrivals

    Day 216

    Coming to Dinner

    After two days of design workshops and weeks of research and talking with members of the community, our partners at Communitere had a good idea of what they needed for their mobile resource center. And they found just the vehicle they needed in Germany. So it was time for a good old-fashioned roadtrip to bring the resource center from Germany to Greece.

    The team at Communitere stopped at European cities all along the route, and in each place they met with makers who wanted to add something to the resource center. They also heard from so many people who wanted to do something together with refugees in their own communities. Having heard about an AirBnB Welcome Party initiative to encourage communities everywhere to welcome refugees into their new homes with a party or event, Communitere and and a group of makers decided to do the doable and host their own Welcome Dinner in Vienna, Austria.

    They worked with the OPENmarx collective – a design and building studio at the Faculty of Architecture and Spatial Planning at the Vienna University of Technology and a collective space for all variety of organizations – to host the event in their space.

    First thing was first, everyone started inviting people – friends, family, new refugees – anyone who wanted to welcome new people to Vienna and anyone who might need a little welcoming. For the dinner, the team planned a great BBQ for after sundown, and everyone worked together to shop, prepare the food and get everything ready.

    Once sundown finally came, they had a terrific crowd turnout to share this community meal. Americans, Canadians, Austrians, Iraqis, Egyptians, Germans, Greeks, and more all came together, sat together, laughed together, and discussed ways to help refugees feel welcome in their new homes. People were appreciative and happy to be together meeting new people and making new friends and connections, as well as learning to communicate in new languages!

    One dinner guest and employee at a local refugee-run bike repair shop said,“You know we appreciate this so much. You brought really great energy here.”

    It was a simple meal that came together in just a matter of hours. But it broke down barriers and gave people an opportunity to connect with their neighbors on a personal level. A small thing that made a huge difference! Afterwards, everyone helped the Communitere team pack up the resource center and get back on the road to Greece.

    Stay tuned for more news from Communitere in the coming weeks as they bring the mobile resource center into refugee camps and communities in Greece!

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