The Refugee Health Unit has received a grant from the Critical Refugee Studies Collective to work on a project focused on intergeneration storytelling – through food!

The Critical Refugee Studies Collective, funded by the University of California Office of the President, is a four-year initiative that seeks to make the University of California system the premier intellectual space and resource for critical research, teaching, and public initiatives that privilege and address the concerns, perspectives, knowledge production, and global imaginings of refugees, asylum seekers, and internally displaced and stateless human beings. Part of their objective is to change traditional paradigms and challenge existing discourse on refugees within and beyond academic settings.

Our intergenerational storytelling project will continue the efforts of centralizing and amplifying refugee community voices by humanizing the stories of the food culture of refugees in San Diego, highlighting the importance of preserving ancestral foods and recipes, and spotlighting the power and resiliency of refugee communities in relation their advocacy for a healthy food system.

Through this project, we also aim to celebrate the diversity, beauty, and depth of the vast food cultures or refugees in our communities. Ultimately, we will show how food culture is linked to cultural survival, healing, and community building. A variety of storytelling tools will be used to communicate diversity of refugee communities and stories and their food cultures, including photo essays, a cookbook, and social media.

We will be working with photojournalist Rucha Chitnis on this initiative. Chitnis is the creator of A Women’s Lens, a project that aims to bring women’s counter narratives to the forefront and challenge stereotypes and assumptions. She is also a fellow at the International Women’s Media Foundation and an alumni of Asia 21 Young Leaders of the Asia Society.  We are excited to work with her on this project.



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