A LOCAL project designed to teach refugees how to market their own food as a small business has been acknowledged at the National Multicultural Marketing Awards.
The Cultural Cafe project set up by the Coffs Harbour Community College cooked up a storm from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Thailand, Tibet, Sudan, Myanmar, Liberia and the Congo, while teaching refugees about safe food handling, customer service, cash handling and communication skills.
The project was named winner of the Small Business Category of the Awards.
The Cultural Cafe involved running an actual cafe each week at the Coffs Harbour Growers Market serving traditional food prepared by refugees. The country of origin of the cuisine changed every Thursday, market day.
Chairman of the Multicultural Commission, Stepan Kerkyasharian, was quick to congratulate the college.
"This is a wonderful idea from which everyone gains. The refugees feel accepted and their culture valued," Mr Kerkyasharian said.
"They learn what it's like to run a business in Australia and improve their language skills at the same time.
"The market-goers get to taste authentic food from around the world.
"The college raises extra money to fund its courses for newcomers, including setting up a horticultural program to grow the crops that refugees want to cook and the students increase their chances of finding employment.
"This is one of the most innovative projects we have had to evaluate."