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Emma’s Torch helps refugees find a culinary path to success

A good job can mean stability, fulfilment, community, and dignity. In New York City, Emma’s Torch helps refugees, asylees, and survivors of trafficking build skills and find job placements in the culinary industry.

Named for Emma Lazarus, whose poem “The New Colossus” appears in bronze at the feet of the Statue of Liberty, Emma’s Torch has worked with more than 300 students from 42 countries since it was founded in 2016. Participating in the program has helped them earn, collectively, $7 million more than they otherwise would have, in addition to less quantifiable gains like helping them improve their English. While in the 11-week program, students are paid full-time wages.

The nonprofit, anchored by a flagship café in Brooklyn, continues to grow and mature, expanding to Washington, DC, graduating more students this year than in the last three put together, and taking students to visit a restaurant established by a 2018 graduate.

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) has been proud to support Emma’s Torch. SNF believes in the potential of culinary education to empower, and has also supported programs like France’s Women & Top Chefs project, which provides topline culinary training to women to help them access quality employment.