Manitoba

Dinner for Syrian refugees over a year in the making

It’s a dinner over a year in the making and next Wednesday it will be served with all the trimmings — Syrian style, that is.

Fundraiser taking place at the University of Winnipeg hopes to enlighten and raise money

University of Winnipeg student Sinan Aboud, left, and Syrian refugees living in Winnipeg were busy prepping food for the Dine for the Syrian Refugees dinner, taking place on May 24. (Austin Grabish/CBC)

It's a dinner over a year in the making and next Wednesday it will be served with all the trimmings — Syrian style, that is.

University of Winnipeg student Sinan Aboud, along with Syrian refugees living in Winnipeg, will put on a three-course dinner to raise funds for Syrian refugees living in Jordan, with the goal of bringing in $10,000 to $15,000.

Syrian volunteers were busy at the university Saturday afternoon prepping for the dinner, which will have everything from stuffed grape leaves to pastries and stuffed meat.

The dinner is also doubling as an educational event.

"Aleppo was like the Toronto of Syria. That people don't know," said Aboud.

The human rights student said he was inspired to help after visiting the Al Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan during reading week last year.

(Austin Grabish/CBC)

Aboud is from Iraq but grew up in Jordan before becoming a Canadian citizen. He said he was shocked by what he saw in Jordan.

"It made me want to help more."

He said proceeds from next Wednesday's dinner will be used to pay for food and provide financial support for Syrians living in Jordan.

He plans to head there later this month and said ​to be accountable to donors, he will post photos on Instagram of refugees who receive the help.

In addition to raising money for the refugees, Aboud said he hopes Winnipeggers who come to the dinner will learn something about Syrian culture, given the influx of refugees to the city.

"It makes total sense to explore it, period," he said.

Tickets to the dinner are $75, or $50 for students, and will be available at the door.

The event will run from 4 - 8 p.m. at the University of Winnipeg's Bulman Centre.

About the Author

​Austin Grabish started reporting when he was young, landing his first byline when he was just 18. He joined CBC in 2016 after freelancing for several outlets. ​​In 2018, he was part of a team of CBC journalists who won the Ron Laidlaw Award for the corporation's extensive digital coverage on asylum seekers crossing into Canada. Email: austin.grabish@cbc.ca