The past few months we’ve been busy planning for our new social enterprise. We’re always looking for new ways to help empower our beneficiaries through work or building skills. Many of them already love cooking and sharing their cultures with others - so this seemed to be the perfect fit! We called it Basil + Mint because of the unique blend of Thai and North African women we work with who have experienced violence or exploitation. Basil is a key ingredient in Thai cuisine, as is mint in North African cuisine.
We dreamed up Basil + Mint with a few goals in mind:
1. Flexibility — in the past, we’ve started both a cafe and a mobile coffee bar. We have experience in this industry, but we also know how big a commitment it is to have a brick-and-mortar building attached to a social enterprise. We wanted this particular initiative to be as low-risk as possible and with the flexibility to adapt to the needs of our beneficiaries and target audiences. (The cafe and mobile coffee bar we started are still thriving! Check them out here and here.)
2. Financial sustainability — all of our projects are run completely on the generous donations of others and our own fundraising efforts. We wanted our social enterprise to be profitable not only so our beneficiaries can provide for their families from it, but also so we can continue to do our work helping vulnerable people in Belgium.
3. More than food — our goal is not just to offer an excellent culinary experience, but something beyond what you can find in your neighborhood restaurant. We want to bring a taste of our beneficiaries’ cultures, a communal experience, and a celebration of empowerment. Whenever you visit one of our pop-up restaurants or hire us to cater an events, you get more than a meal, you get to be a part of something bigger than yourself.
4. Community — everything we do at Oasis is centered around the idea of building community. That’s why our staff and volunteers are completely hands-on: we shop, cook, and clean alongside our beneficiaries. Everything we do is a team effort, so no one is left behind. If you want to become part of our event team, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
We’ve just hosted our first pop-up restaurant, The Elephant in the Room, and have catered for a handful of events. We are definitely still in a “trial run” phase and are figuring out what works and what doesn’t. It’s an exciting journey and we’re optimistic about what the future holds for this new initiative! You can like our page on Facebook to keep up with our events.
Please feel free to contact us at email@example.com or on our Facebook page about event catering or hosting a pop-up restaurant at your business or home.