Nihal Elwan – Tayybeh Syrian
We start our diversity appreciation with the team of Tayybeh Syrian. Tayybeh is a social-enterprise of women refugees who came together sharing their love for their country, their cuisine, their customs and their challenges – leaving behind their homes and transitioning to a country that kept them safe.
Tayybeh’s founder, Nihal Elwan hails from Egypt and shares with us her privileged upbringing which gave her access to education and opportunities, and this lead her to take action towards the inequity many women like the members of Tayybeh face.
Nihal created an environment for the Tayybeh women to feel safe while taking on new roles as breadwinners for their families, a role that traditionally belonged to men. When I asked Nihal about Tayybeh’s menu, she let us in on the diversity of the cuisine of Syria; much like Italian or Indian cuisine, each dish tasted slightly different from region to region – so despite being from the same country, the women had a unique way of preparing each item. In creating the menu for Tayybeh, the women were able to cultivate special ways of creating dishes they loved and over their similarities, they also learned to appreciate and integrate their differences.
I asked Nihal, “What does Diversity mean to you?” and she replied,
“A sincere openness to, equal acceptance of, and genuine excitement about the wealth of experience that human beings of all backgrounds and cultures bring to our society.”