Remember the old adage: give a man a fish, feed him for a day; teach a man to fish…
Of course you do.
Well, we have a plan that puts a fresh spin on that adage, a plan that has potential to provide benefits well beyond a single individual or family.
We’re calling it Just Bread. “Just” refers to the purity of the products we will produce, as well as to the ethical and social objectives of our enterprise: to provide a means for refugee women with permission to work to learn a plethora of skills they need to become economically independent, valued members of their community and adopted country.
Having consulted widely with successful social enterprises, we’re just about set roll out a 14-week course that will not only teach the basics involved in running a bakery, but ask participant refugees to contribute recipes and techniques they have brought with them from their home countries. In this way, it will be a cooperative venture, producing a unique variety of breads, making Just Bread a distinctive, desirable brand.
We anticipate 3 stages to this project,
Stage 1 – We will launch a pilot 14 week course starting in January 2014, enrolling eight refugee women from several culturally diverse countries. These women will learn new vocational skills as well as the kind of social skills that will help them overcome barriers to employment. Throughout the course we will be offering English language learning support. We will also work hard to find commercial bakery work experience for each qualified graduate.
We’ll need to meet operating costs of six thousand pounds, and must reach an immediate goal of 2,000 to launch.
Stage 2 – During this stage we will launch a second round of classes for another set of refugee women, and work on professional development, establishing and building relationships with retailers who will take on our “graduates” in apprentice schemes and carry the breads we develop in our course.
Stage 3 – At this stage we should be ready to launch a social enterprise having our graduates run a professional bakery delivering Just Bread to retailers, farmer’s markets and cafes. We intend to reinvest our earnings in the training programme and support even more refugee women. We’d expect ultimately, to be self-funding, while sending into the workforce capable, confident and creative bakers, contributing to their own well-being and that of their families, communities and — as tax-paying employees — their new country.
So, to return to that adage…give a woman some flour, water, and an oven, as well as some savvy and some skills…and she, her family and others as well, are set for a good and bountiful life.