There is scientific evidence that every human being is connected in this world somehow, and that the action of every person has a global impact. When the intrepid social entrepreneur of Soufra, Mariam Shaar, set out to change the narrative of her fellow Palestinian women in their refugee camp, she was just trying to help her community and people by providing hope of a better future. But little did she know that she would inspire a wide array of people around the world, including the founder of a food tech company, all the way across the globe, in Los Angeles.
Ani Torosyan is the founder and CEO of DishDivvy, a platform that connects Approved HomeCooks with Hungry Neighbors, focused on the mission of connecting communities through food, and cultivating opportunities for underrepresented groups who are traditionally left out of the commercial food sector. “Many of our homecooks are women, immigrants, people of color, or folks with disabilities, who are not able to gain access into the commercial food space due to the numerous economic barriers they’re faced with,” says Ani. While on a flight to Latin America last month, Ani happened to come across Soufra through the in-flight movie selections. “I’m so glad I stumbled upon this film. It struck a deep chord with me from the first minute I watched it, from my admiration for these women who have to overcome huge hurdles to reach their dreams and ambitions, to the fundamental ability of food to connect people, despite their differences,” explains Ani. “The more I watched, the more I was inspired and knew I had to get involved.”
About an hour into the film, Ani had to pause the film and do a double-take. During an interview with Soufra’s main character, Mariam, there was an old tattered sign in the background, hanging from a store front in the middle of the Lebanese city. It read ‘ DIVVY.’ Spelled correctly and in plain English! At that moment, Ani knew she HAD to get involved with the makers of Soufra, and get the message of the Soufra women to Los Angeles and to the supporters of the food share movements building up in the US. She had literally seen a sign!
While still in-flight and via shotty airplane wi-fi, flying over Latin America, Ani contacted the creators of the film with the mission of helping their cause for empowering women, embracing entrepreneurism, and supporting the ‘chefugees’ dreams of success in the food industry. Long-story short, we have teamed up with DishDivvy, as they have graciously offered to host a screening of the film in Glendale, CA (Los Angeles) on Wednesday, May 22nd at 6:30 PM.
Guests will be provided a Soufra-inspired boxed meal to enjoy during the film, prepared by local DishDivvy HomeCooks, who share similar experiences to the women of Soufra. These DishDivvy cooks are immigrants and refugees to the US, and will be preparing traditional Arabic dishes that will be featured in the distributed boxed meals. The experience will then go beyond the screen with an interactive audience discussion led by community leader, Fr. Vazken Movsesian of In His Shoes , an organization focused on the mission of supporting those who suffer in the world.
“My parents came to this country as refugees, as Christian Armenians, escaping the Islamic revolution in Iran,” Ani shares. “I saw how hard they worked to overcome the countless obstacles and barriers in their life, as they persevered to build an abundant, better life for my brother and I. The underlying desire to be productive and appreciated is innate, and I make it my mission everyday, to build a platform that provides opportunities for talented folks, of all backgrounds, to gain access to economic opportunities in the commercial food space, that is traditionally unattainable for them. Food is universal. Food is connecting. Food is joy. DishDivvy is in the business of connecting people through the joy of food, and that’s something very magical!” concludes Ani.
If you are a talented HomeCook living in California, click here to get more info on how to become an Approved HomeCook on DishDivvy.