HOI: A ‘Happie’ Place to Eat

“As a student, I do not always have enough money to donate or help [refugees] much but through putting all my efforts in this project I can give refugees more hopes for the future and rights they deserve.” – Martijn Tel

On the 8th of May, a group of students opened a small restaurant “Happietaria Rotterdam” in the heart of Rotterdam. Not only family and friends of those who organized it, but also some political actors and journalists of the Dutch press were present during the first evening. You can ask – what is so important about this event? The answer lurks in the main purpose of the new-born restaurant.  

Starting from December 2018, two Christian student organizations, namely NSR and CSFR, decided to launch a project for a good cause. Their intention was to open a pop-up restaurant to help refugees in Uganda. The management team was made out of the student members of each association in order to organize the whole process. Under their guidance, there were created a few committees. Each participant agreed to work on a voluntary basis.

Martijn Tel – a first-year IBCoM student – took part in a PR committee. He is currently promoting “Happietaria” through different media and sets contact with the press representatives.

All of the money raised from selling drinks and meals go on a good cause – to supply refugees in Uganda with the means for living. “Happietaria” supports a project from ZOA – an international relief and recovery organization that supports vulnerable people. This particular project helps refugees in different countries to sustain a sane lifestyle, gives an opportunity for education and reduces conflicts between refugees and the local population.

In Uganda, there are now more than 1,2 million refugees and they are there because of wars in their own countries. Uganda has an open-door policy, so all the refugees are welcome. Uganda is not rich enough to supply each refugee. Nevertheless, refugees do get some foods and they have a place to build settlements, it is not enough to have a normal life. Some refugees have only one meal a day. They need projects like ours to create better living conditions” – tells Martijn.

For him, it is not the first time to get in touch with people who suffer in Uganda. During the gap year, Martijn traveled there and interviewed some refugees for his own project. That is to say, he is directly familiar with the situation there. “As for me, I feel inspired by the goal of this restaurant. As a student, I do not always have enough money to donate or help much but through putting all my efforts in this project I can give refugees more hopes for the future and rights they deserve. So, I fight for this idea through “Happietaria”.”

Talking about the restaurant itself, from my own experience, I can say that the dishes are worth trying. There you can enjoy poke-bowls, taste Ugandan dishes or choose classical risotto. Martijn’s personal suggestion is a burger – “My favorite [meal] is probably a vegetarian burger, which is made from grilled Portobello (a mushroom), topped with warm buns and sauce”. The prices are quite cheap and affordable for a night out. “Happietaria” is opened in the evening from Monday till Friday and will work only for a month. Thus, do not hesitate and visit this restaurant to spend a nice evening and help to make the lives of needy a little bit better!

You can find more information on the restaurant’s website here.

Or check its Facebook group here.


Author: Varya
Editor: Ayesha