Cohesive meal connects community

Wafaa Beaini is dining to make a difference. 155583 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS


Sign up to serve up a meal to promote community connectedness in Greater Dandenong.
Dandenong’s Wafaa Beaini is an ambassador for the Welcome Dinner Project (WDP), launched by charity joiningthedots in 2013.
The WDP helps newly arrived and established Australians to organise and host dinners in their own homes, and occasionally in community settings.
“Food is used as a vehicle to bring people from different walks of life together to share their traditional or favourite food and enjoy meaningful conversations,” Ms Beaini said.
“By doing so, the WDP is enabling people in our community to feel connected and establish relationships in a safe and friendly environment where everyone can feel respected and included.”
She said the project was in its early stages in Greater Dandenong.
“But we have already had success in hosting a small lunch in Noble Park,” she said.
“With more than 50 per cent of our population coming from non-English speaking communities, what better place is there to host these dinners and make people feel welcome.”
Ms Beaini encouraged people in Greater Dandenong to register for the project, so it could grow.
More than 160 Welcome Dinners have been held across Australia since the first meal in Sydney.
About 300 trained Welcome Dinner facilitators across Australia have helped more than 3500 people to share a meal.
WDP is fund-raising to employ more staff and forging partnerships to make the project more sustainable.
It’s the primary project of non-profit organisation joiningthedots.
Its aim is to create opportunities to foster positive relationships between community members and promote shifts in perception and values to create more connected, peaceful.
Visit for more information or to get involved.

Watch more on the Welcome Dinner Project: