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Cooking, Recovery & Connections

Public housing residents in North Melbourne and Flemington know that food is an international language that needs no translation. Coming together following the hard lockdown experienced by public housing communities last year, residents have put together a cookbook, ‘Cooking, Recovery & Connections’ to celebrate community resilience and recovery.

‘Cooking, Recovery and Connections’ is packed with 18 recipes and artwork contributed from residents from a huge diversity of cultural backgrounds including Somalian, Ethiopian, Eritrean, Indian, Egyptian, and South Sudanese.

The idea was born last year when cohealth Health Concierges identified concerns in their communities, that people were “a bit scared and concerned” to talk to other people in the housing blocks, said cohealth Health Concierge, Community Support Officer and resident Nagat Abdalla.

“We were desperately needing that connection because it was a really hard time for everyone,” she said. “Recipes and food were a topic we realised you can share. For our community it’s part of our daily life to share food. If you are a relative or if you are my neighbour, you come to my place or I give you a plate of my lunch or dinner.

This project is owned and led by public housing residents to support COVID-19 recovery – a community-driven response to support connection, wellbeing, and community resilience.

‘For us it was really something, a big thing to create all these recipes together, during such a hard time when everything stopped in our life. It’s something we are so emotional about. This book will be something memorable forever.”

Printed copies of the cookbook will be given out free to 1,300 residents living at the public housing towers.

Produced as a not-for-profit cookbook, it is available for free to the public as a digital copy.
Download ‘Cooking, Recovery & Connections’ (PDF).

Anyone who would like to give back to the community can get involved with or donate to SisterWorks, a not-for-profit social enterprise, based in Melbourne. SisterWorks supports women who are refugees, asylum seekers or migrants to improve their confidence, mental well-being, sense of belonging and economic outlook.


‘Cooking, Recovery & Connections’ is supported by cohealth’s Prevention and Community Partnerships team.

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