Syrian refugees donate food to the elderly during the pandemic in Brazil

The couple Ghazal e Talal prepare packed lunchest to the elderly in São Paulo.
Caption: The couple Ghazal e Talal prepare packed lunchest to the elderly in São Paulo.
Photo: Riad Al- Tinawi

The couple Talal e Ghazal Al-Tinawi, both Syrian refugees in Brazil, felt the financial toll from the decrease in orders at their Arabic food delivery service due to COVID-19 in Sao Paulo, the state with the highest number of cases in Brazil. Even so, they found a caring alternative to help mitigate the new virus transmission.

They made an effort to increase their production so that 300 packed lunches could be delivered to the elderly, one of the most vulnerable groups especially at risk during this time. Complying with the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation, the food is safely being delivered to their homes.

“We arrived in Brazil seven years ago and we are grateful to the Brazilians, who received us with arms wide open and always helped us with our needs. Now it’s time to give back with the best we have: our Arabic food to those in need, the elderly”, said Talal, mechanical engineer.

“We passed through a similar situation in Syria, when we could not get out of our home because of the war. Our lives were in danger and we left because there was no other choice. Knowing these difficulties, we posted an ad on our social media page about the donation and countless orders started to come in," tells Ghazal, which works with her husband in the kitchen as she pays close attention to the sanitation needs.

The reality of the refugee Syrian family as gastronomic entrepreneurs is common to many refugees who try to rebuild their lives in Brazil producing traditional food. The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has supported their work by spotlighting their contributions of Talal and Ghazal in their listing of local enterprises promoted by refugees in Brazil.

UNHCR and International Organization for Migration (IOM) are partnering with other UN agencies and civil society to produce multilingual awareness raising material and resources for refugees and migrants on prevention measures.

UN entities involved in this initiative
International Organization for Migration
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
World Health Organization

Goals we are supporting through this initiative