BEMA hosts virtual fundraiser to empower African women bakers

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

BEMA hosts virtual fundraiser to empower African women bakers

Related tags BEMA The Women's Bakery food insecurity empowering women Africa social enterprise

BEMA – Bakery Equipment Manufacturers Allied – is hosting an online event to raise money and awareness for The Women’s Bakery, which works to empower women, who produce nutritious bread for East African communities.

The one-hour telethon-style event will be held in tandem with BEMA’s Virtual Convention 2020 on June 25 at 3pm CST.

According to BEMA, TBW’s mission is aligned with its own ‘Turikumwe’ (We Are Together) campaign to connect, educate and provide resources for its members and the industries they serve.

The power of bread

The Women’s Bakery - headquartered in Denver, Colorado - was founded in 2014 by Markey Culver, following her two-year posting in Rwanda with the United States Peace Corps.

The social enterprise helps women in East Africa support their communities and sustain their local economies by baking and selling fortified bread. Today, TWB runs three wholly-owned bakeries in Rwanda and one franchised bakery in Uganda. It has also provided training for three others, which now operate independently.

According to TWB, using the power of bread, women receive access to the human rights of education, economic opportunity, and general health and wellness. Every woman involved in TWB has been able to double her pre-bakery income, which in turn directly affects the lives of hundreds of children.

‘Through education and employment, we are creating opportunities for access to more stability and helping women move from surviving to thriving,’ says TWB on its website.

“As TWB grows and our bakeries move closer toward profitability, I am most proud of the steps we take to further empower the lives of our women bakers,”​ said Culver.

“TWB’s Whole Women Programming is a key ingredient to our mission of empowering women and providing nutritious bread to the people of Rwanda. Thanks to the support of our champions, such as BEMA, TWB is poised to really grow.”

Click here to register for both BEMA’s Virtual Convention 2020 and The Women’s Bakery Telethon.​ ​BEMA encourages fundraiser participants to raise awareness by sharing photos and videos of pledges on social media using #TWB and #Turikumwe.

TWB’s fundraising needs

  • $500 provides health insurance for TWB bakers and their families for one month
  • $1,000 funds a nanny for the onsite day care for one year
  • $5,000 buys a hardbody delivery vehicle
  • $10,000 funds two gender equity trainings
  • $25,000 funds three months of social impact programming
  • $50,000 launches a training programme for a new group of bakers in 2021
  • $75,000 buys three new industrial ovens (one oven for each bakery, including shipping and importation taxes)
  • $100,000 supports bakery operations for 2020 in Kigali (includes staff, bread distribution, increased inventory costs due to the coronavirus outbreak)
  • $150,000 purchases the Gicumbi, Rwanda, bakery (space is currently leased)

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