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126 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 11.16 they come here, they have nothing to put on an application," she says. Upon arrival, each refugee receives a small stipend from the federal government, ranging from $1,125 to $1,325 depending on his or her country of origin. It must cover rent, transportation, food and any other expenses. en they're on their own. Refugees are expected to be employed and self-sufficient within 90 days. Mohammed resettled to Louisville three months ago after 14 years living in Egypt awaiting asylum. She learned to cook "from different places," she says, adding that her mother is from Ethiopia, her father from Su- dan. At the end of this course, she'd like to find work in a kitchen, though she'd jump at any opportunity. (Mohammed speaks five languag- es, including Arabic and Amharic.) "Every job is good for life," she says. "Without a job, I cannot live." It's now 10:35. Mohammed darts from pot to pot. Sweat beads on her forehead. She pauses at a sink where a classmate, a 17-year-old from Boys & Girls Haven, stands. "Wash, wash," she instructs in a gentle tone, handing him a colander full of cucumbers that must be peeled and chopped for a salad. She checks in on Tol- cha, who's pouring a thin, light-brown batter on a griddle for injera, a spongy East African sourdough bread used to sop up sauces. Mohammed and her five classmates are in the fifth week of Common Table's eight-week, 20-hour-per-week course. It costs $500 but nearly everyone pays the fee by working at Catholic Charities for a few hours here and there. In the last year, 18 students have gradu- ated the program. Some have landed at Mussel and Burger Bar, Queen of Sheba, a nursing home's kitchen and Brown-Forman's catering service. Stevens sees Common Table as a natural extension of Common Earth Gardens, another Catholic Charities program that's built nine community gardens for more than 200 refugee families to grow and harvest produce. (Com- mon Table tries to use produce from those gar- dens when possible.) Stevens hopes Common Table can grow and eventually help sustain Fatema Mohammed and Zewdnesh Tolcha put the finishing touches on an eggplant dish.