We have officially opened a brand-new bakery school for women in India! The women enrolled are from slum areas and most have been forced to work in a dump-yard and sell whatever recyclable waste they can find at the market. It is one of the few ways to make money and there is little opportunity to escape poverty.
However, over the past couple of months, our team met several times with the women in this community to figure out what sort of opportunities they would like to have in their community. Many mentioned that baking was a passion of theirs! Thus, the bakery school was born and is currently enrolling 14 women from the community. After they complete the training, they hope to start their own cooperative bakery to provide clean, healthy food at an affordable price to the community.
Jyoti is one of the women enrolled and was previously working at the dump-yard to provide for herself and her three younger sisters. She is so excited to start learning a new skill and tells us, “I see this opportunity as a ray of hope which will enable me to help my sisters in their education and in their marriages. Thank you for helping me create a brighter future for myself and my sisters!”
Shivani is 22 years old. She lives in the slums. Her mother passed away and her father remarried deserting 3 children including Shivani to survive on their own. Shivani’s older sister is married and so Shivani and her brother stays in her Sister’s family. Shivani earns her livelihood through rag picking and her brother is a daily labourer. Shivani does not like going to dumping yard every day for waste collection. She wants to do something honorable. She desires to earn sufficient amount through selling Bakery products and support her family. She says that she has found a purpose of life through this opportunity. She dreams to work together with other students and earn through this initiative. She is hoping to start a Bakery unit to support to her family and her needs. Shivani shared:”I never dreamt that I would attend such classes in my life. I am so happy and thankful that I can get this skill which gives me confidence that I will not end up being exploited.”
Before each training session, the students join together in prayer with their teacher. After just a week we see have seen deep, trusting relationships form between the students and their teacher as well as impressive progress on their baking skills!
During follow-up visits, we met with the students in their homes and were happy to see many had been practicing their baking at home. It’s amazing to witness that with a little bit of investment of resources, we can develop such positivity and hope! We look forward to seeing all these women accomplish after they complete the training.