By The Women's Bakery
What do you see when you look at a loaf of bread?
Perhaps, wide-eyed with a watering mouth, you see all kinds of gluten goodness. Maybe you find yourself thinking about the unlimited possibilities of sandwiches, delightful pastry concoctions, or a sweet snack for the afternoon.
At The Women’s Bakery, we believe that something as simple as a loaf of bread has power to change the world. This is what makes us happy.
Serving in Peace Corps Rwanda as secondary-school educators, TWB co-founders, Markey Culver & Julie Greene witnessed pervasive social & economic disparity. When women in their respective communities asked how to make bread, Markey & Julie saw an opportunity to fortify breads with protein & micronutrients to improve family nutrition. After months of baking, women began selling their breads.
Today, The Women's Bakery (TWB) is a social enterprise committed to empowering women and developing businesses. TWB works with rural and urban women in East Africa interested in business and employment, but who lack access to formal opportunities.
Sourcing locally, the women produce and sell nutritious, affordable breads in their communities - meeting local demand with local supply. In addition, women's groups have ongoing access to microloans, specialty recipes, branding, oven and bakery-building designs and construction, and operational support.
Our work catalyzes the possibility for bread. So, instead of a slice of bread just being a slice, it has the power to launch businesses, promote nutrition in family homes and communities, and bring income to individuals looking to gain more autonomy and opportunity in their lives.
Today, we’ve launched 2 medium bakeries, 2 large bakeries, and 7 home bakeries across the region of East Africa. These bakeries are run by the graduates. This matters because it means that a person’s income can be tied to their own capabilities – not simply as an act of charity.
TWB has trained 54 women (and men) to date, and for the graduates working in our bakery businesses, the average monthly income increase has risen from $15/monthly to $36/monthly.
Bread – and the success of bread in business and education – makes us happy because bread brings people together. There is something special about baking together, learning together, and building a dream together. Happiness, then, isn’t so much about the end result alone, it’s about the process, and the way we can continue to provide opportunity to the collective community all around us.
TWB is particularly happy when fresh, warm bread is removed from an oven and we can all share – and sell – together. That’s serious bread power!!
Go women! Go bread! Go happeaness.
By: Amber Fallon
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