#EatTheWall: Hungry 4 Change Syrian Refugee Fundraiser at UBC

This is the second in my series of #eatthewall posts, dealing with cuisines from countries that the current American president hates.

AMS Refugee Relief at UBC and Afya Club at UBC put on a fundraising gala this past Saturday, April 1, 2017, to raise funds to help 4 Syrian refugees come to Canada. You can read more background information on the Facebook event page and crowdfunding page. The event was catered by Tayybeh, a group based in Vancouver, whose members are recent Syrian immigrants. They do catering and EXTREMELY popular pop-ups. This is my quick personal recap of the event, which was held at the AMS Student Nest at UBC.

I really liked that the money from this event is going directly to help four individuals (one couple and two sisters) who are still in Turkey, where they are not allowed to work.

I got early bird tickets for $40 each (regular $50).

The Grand Hall on the second floor. Cripes, UBC has changed since Wicca used to go there! The Nest is a beautiful building, with many spaces to hang out and study.

Live piano.

View from the podium.

Some of the many items up for auction.

A gentleman from Tayybeh putting the finishing touches on the hummus. Everything was vegetarian or vegan except for the Kibbeh (meatballs).

The schedule with dinner, a performance, and a few speakers.

The menu. I eagerly got photos of the spread before it was served:

Mutabbal, eggplant spread with yogurt, tahini, garlic, and olive oil.


Fattoush (salad) with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, sumac, lemon, and olive oil. There were also crispy fried pita croutons sprinkled on top later.

Kibbeh, meatballs with fine ground lean beef, rice, and spices.

Yalanji, vine leaves stuffed with rice, herbs, and spices.

Fattet Hummus, layers of pita bread and hummus. Could be described as a kind of bread pudding.

Baklava, phyllo pastry with chopped nuts and honey.


A rep from AMS Refugee Relief MCing the event.

Performance by Ahmad Khaldieh. That guitar he’s playing is an oud.

Drink of choice.

Friendly gentleman from Tayybeh serving up the mutabbal (eggplant spread).

Wicca’s plate. Even though it was mostly vegetarian, we got pretty full and satisfied. The fattet hummus (with crunchy pita bread pieces) was flavourful and lemony — our favourite dish of the night.

The yalanji (grape leaves) and kibbeh (ground beef).

Cross-section of the yalanji. Honestly I found it a bit gummy, but it was good to try. Mild spicing.

Kibbeh with ground beef and rice. Not bad.

I really appreciated that the baklava wasn’t syrupy sweet as most baklava is 🙂

A short video about the four Syrians we were helping bring to Canada. Mustafa (on the right) was a Biochemistry grad! But it’s a common theme among all of these refugees that war has disrupted and uprooted their lives.

Kuol Deng Biong from Sudan, who is now studying political science and international relations, to understand how war starts and how to put an end to it.

Zdravko Cimbaljevic from Montenegro. Now an LGBTQI activist.

Anas Alsaid, a Syrian refugee.

Anas gave a heart-wrenching presentation about a Syrian girl named Rayan, whose life was cut short at only three years old.


Some stats and a few of the many ways a person can help out.

Final performance of the night, a couple spoken word pieces by Marya Atassi. Forceful, depressing (her words), and necessary.

Thanks to all the speakers, volunteers, and Tayybeh for putting on this event! #eatthewall

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