By Denise Koch

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — There are about 68 million people forced from their homes across the globe, according to the United Nations, and some end up in Baltimore. A group of women who immigrated to Baltimore is working together, using their skills in the kitchen to survive.

Inside the historic Lord Baltimore Hotel, the women of Mera Kitchen and a volunteer use the small kitchen to prepare the dishes of their homelands.

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Iman Alshehab was head chef at the Four Seasons in Damascus, Maryland, until war forced her from Syria. Now, she’s cooking again.

“It’s art, it’s all my life,” Alshehab said.

[Reporter: Is your family here with you?]

“No,” she replied.

Zaid is from Eritrea. She’s a single parent with three children. She speaks no English and she’s the reason why Aisha says Mera Kitchen is so important.

“I’m an immigrant myself, I came to this country by myself, I came with education. I came with may more privilege than anybody else.
27:08 just seeing the struggles of a single mother… just seeing the struggles of a mother
there was no choice …not acceptable, no. (cut way down)

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Mera Kitchen is worker-owned. The women come from Syria, Kuwait, Cameroon, Eritrea and Sudan. They cater and sell their food, and all money earned is shared equally. Liliane is from Cameroon.

“We love eating, we love cooking and those women, they love eating and cooking, so why don’t we use our strength and do something meaningful and different together?” she asked.

Mera Kitchen has a booth at Baltimore’s farmers market every Sunday morning, but their big dream is to some day open a cafe.

sot 21;33 IT’S MORE THAN A restaurant. it’s like a community gathering.

sot 21:43 here i feel like i have people….sharing our strength and making the best of our skills. our different skills. 21:58 (cut down)

Mera Kitchen not only caters but they also stage pop-up dinners. Their next one is July 11 at Alma Cocina Restaurant in Canton, Maryland.

Find more information here.

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