Soufra follows the unlikely and wildly inspirational story of intrepid social entrepreneur, Mariam Shaar – a generational refugee who has spent her entire life in the Burj El Barajneh refugee camp just south of Beirut, Lebanon. The film follows Mariam as she sets out against all odds to change her fate by launching a successful catering company, “Soufra,” and then expand it into a food truck business with a diverse team of fellow refugee women who now share this camp as their home. Together, they heal the wounds of war through the unifying power of food while taking their future into their own hands through an unrelenting belief in Mariam, and in each other. In the process, Mariam is breaking barriers by pulling together Syrian, Iraqi, Palestinian and Lebanese women to work side by side to form beautiful friendships while running this thriving business.
Before the feature, we will share a short by Amy Oden, from Maryland Public Television, called “Refugees and Immigrants” which centers on the story of Baltimore’s Mera Kitchen Collective. Chef Iman Alshehab fled her home in war-torn Syria in 2016, beginning a journey that would take her to Jordan, and then, to Baltimore. Even though she had cooked at the Four Seasons Hotel in Damascus, she only found work in Baltimore at a tailor shop. But, in 2017, she found a way to pursue her passion again.