Midwestern African Nutrition Cooking Classes Launch November 9, 2015

Fitness and Nutrition Program Update

The Fitness & Nutrition Program focuses on education as the most effective tool to advance knowledge and raise awareness to enhance techniques about health and fitness for immigrant women and their families. Mastora Bakhiet, Darfur Women Network Executive Director, designed the Nutrition & Fitness program to enable immigrant women in Indianapolis to maintain their lifestyles and to prepare healthy meals that bring their children back to the dinner table. She recruits volunteers to conduct the Nutrition & Fitness program through VolunteerMatch.

Healthy International Meals-Cooking Demonstration

This nutrition-focused program offers tips about smart shopping to reduce the food cost that challenges many low-income families. In this program, immigrant mothers from more than 20 countries learn how to prepare everyday balanced meals and nutritious snacks.

Cooking nutritious international meals when living in the Midwestern United States is a bewildering challenge for immigrant mothers. They need to find ways to shop for food that can be used to prepare traditional meals and honor their families’ culture and eating habits. The combination of nutritious healthy traditional meals and healthy American meals is especially important in helping the immigrant family maintain strong family ties and healthy lifestyles by eating together at the dinner table and avoiding unhealthy fast food.

The Darfur Women Network has partnered with The Center for Interfaith Cooperation (CIC) and Immigrant Welcome Center to implement this program. All women are welcome to attend to learn about nutritious recipes indigenous to more than 20 countries and the Midwestern United States.

The American food preparation and nutrition classes started on Monday, November 9, 2015 at the Fairview Presbyterian Church Kitchen and community room. The class take place every Monday from 1:30 to 3:30 pm through the next six months. At the first class, participants cooked broccoli with chicken. All agreed that the meal was delicious and healthy, and it brought together some immigrant families with their children at dinner tables. Mary Ann Wietbrock, a registered nurse who specializes in nutrition and exercise, leads the healthy American food preparation part of the program.

The traditional food modification workshop will take place on Saturdays, but hasn’t started yet due to our lack of fund. The workshop will provide shopping, cooking information and hands-on kitchen experience to women who came to America as adults. The workshop’s goal is to help the immigrant mothers maintain their cultural nutritional and eating habits and prepare healthy American food for their children to unify them with the adults at the dinner table. Taysir Ali, a nutritionist from an immigrant family, will teach this workshop.


The Center for Interfaith Cooperation is providing Darfur Women Network with space to conduct fitness workshops on Wednesdays from 2:30 to 4:30 pm. The workshops teaches a variety of low-stress exercises that include weight-lifting and stationary machines. Renee McCord, a professional trainer, leads the workshop to help diverse women, Americans and immigrants to maintain their lifestyles. The workshop started on September 28, 2015.

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