Birthday Celebration with Picha!

Written by
Kim Lim

The good thing about open house is that it can be really flexible. You can host a cooking workshop, a bridal shower, or a birthday celebration with us - we always strive to provide Picha Heroes a meaningful experience on their special days.

Silvia did just that last month, celebrating her boyfriend - Ryan’s birthday in Nawal’s house with 14 other friends from their secondary school. The open house was filled with nostalgic moments, strong friendship and endless laughters.

That afternoon, Silvia’s friends came into Nawal’s house with an empty stomach, all ready to conquer the feast that Nawal has prepared for them. Whenever there’s an open house, we never restrict what our family should cook because it’s their time to experiment with new dishes and surprise our guests. You will never find certain dishes on our menu like this delicious looking Maqluba here. Instead of having a meal in the restaurant, who not celebrate your special day with us?

This was the first time Silvia’s friend got to experience an Open House with Picha. However, for Silvia and Ryan, they have experienced it before because this was their 2nd time attending an open house. I really appreciate how the couple made such effort to hold this special birthday celebration, because it shows that they too care about this cause and wanted their friends to know more about it.

“I personally found this open house luncheon one of a kind experience. Apart from bridging the cultural gaps btw us and the host family, it has also provided a true insight and authentic experience for the attendees of the luncheon.” - Silvia

Throughout the meal, everyone was very excited having exotic but delicious taste bursting in their mouths, and also having a good chat catching up with each other. Nawal and her whole family sat on the floor too, enjoying the food she cooked and having good conversations too.

The small yet neat house of Nawal’s was filled with more than 20 people, but it totally did not feel small at all as the vibe of the whole group kept expanding the whole space. Then there’s this boy who kept waving at anyone that says hello to him, and Nawal’s family who always loved children can’t seem to take their eyes off this cute boy.

We ended the whole open house experience with a celebration of the birthday star, having all his close friends and his girlfriend beside him celebrating. I’m sure it was a very warm birthday celebration for him. On top of that, being able to have friends from Iraq singing him an Arabic Birthday song, it was unforgettable.

Celebrating my birthday with a bunch of good friends and an Iraqi refugee family was one of the most unique and meaningful birthday meal that I have ever had in my life. On top of that, the foods were delicious and well prepared for my guests too! Kudos to Picha Project for putting this together into a great experience for me and my friends! - Ryan

Everyone left the house with both their tummy and heart full, but most importantly - they have learn  great lesson from Nawal. Nawal’s sharing has given them the courage to go out and face the challenges that life brings, knowing that there are people who have been through harder times yet still can move forward positively.

That’s what Picha is all about, empowerment doesn’t just stop among the refugee community, it’s also empowering everyone - having the spirit of Picha within them to face challenges in their daily lives, knowing that they can definitely overcome them.