The shocking photo of a three year old Syrian refugee washed up on a Turkish beach broke hearts of people around the world.

For Hamilton woman Tania Jones, it not only broke her heart but it inspired her to go help the influx of refugees landing on the shores of Lesbos in Greece.

"Like everyone else I was watching the Syrian refugee crisis unfold. That image of the boy that was found drowned on the shore and that got my attention and I spent a year or so going 'what can I be doing'."

By mid 2017 she booked a ticket to Greece to help volunteer with refugees arriving at Kara Tepe Camp in Lesbos.

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"People are going 'what are you on about, you can't just go and save the world' ... I was just in my corporate job just feeling soulless and all this important stuff was going on around me and I was like 'I've got to do something about it, I can't keep living small'.

"It was also a bit of a soul searching thing as well."

She chose Greece as she'd read it had the highest population of refugees in Europe due to it being so close to Turkey, with Lesbos being one of the key islands they would land on.

Jones, 36, spent a month volunteering at the camp, working in the makeshift store handing out supplies to those arriving with ripped and torn clothes on their back.

Arriving back in New Zealand, her view of the world changed and she was determined to help further.

Some of the food on offer during the launch of Home Kitchen's pledgeme campaign in which it hopes to raise $30,000 by December 21. Photo / Ryan Thorpe
Some of the food on offer during the launch of Home Kitchen's pledgeme campaign in which it hopes to raise $30,000 by December 21. Photo / Ryan Thorpe

She quit her office job currently using money out of her own back pocket, and with help from friends and volunteers, she's since set up Home Kitchen, a cafe which will be operated by Waikato refugees three to four nights a week. It's where refugees can cook food from their homeland as well as building up their skill base.

A friend pointed her in the direction of Yalla Yalla Cafe owner David White who was already hoping to get involved in a similar project.

White, whose Victoria St cafe operates during the day, has given the social enterprise use of his kitchen at night.

Jones also worked with the local Red Cross, Waikato Migrant Centre, Agora Cafe and other local businesses and organisations to find refugees who might be interested in working at Home Kitchen.

The mother-of-two said the refugees didn't necessarily have to be skilled cooks, they would also be offered training. They currently had about 20 people, from countries including Afghanistan, Columbia, Pakistan and Syria, who had shown interest.

Tania Jones and Home Kitchen volunteer Mayssaa Sheik Al Ard, a Syrian migrant who came to New Zealand in 1997, get busy preparing food for their pledgeme launch night on Wednesday. Photo / Ryan Thorpe
Tania Jones and Home Kitchen volunteer Mayssaa Sheik Al Ard, a Syrian migrant who came to New Zealand in 1997, get busy preparing food for their pledgeme launch night on Wednesday. Photo / Ryan Thorpe

As Yalla Yalla is a vegetarian cafe, all meals produced by the eatery would also be vegetarian.

As well as eating their food, people can learn to cook it with cooking classes aiming to be held. It was hoped a food truck could also be bought to take their food on the road.

Once it's up and running, its profits would go back into the organisation to provide more employment and training opportunities for other refugee-led initiatives both in New Zealand and overseas.

But before Jones' dream can be realised she needs to raise money to help get it off the ground.

She has until December 21 to raise the $30,000 which would towards equipment and wages for the refugees.

• Visit Jones' call to action on her pledgeme page where you can donate cash or pick up a dinner or cooking class.

Home Kitchen will be based out of Hamilton's vegetarian Yalla Yalla cafe. Photo / Supplied
Home Kitchen will be based out of Hamilton's vegetarian Yalla Yalla cafe. Photo / Supplied