The Pastry Project

LivelihoodsMicro EnterpriseEducation

Lev* runs an orphanage for girls in the Central Asian States. But there was a question constantly hanging over him: how could he help the girls find a better life after they left? The answer came from an unexpected source – pastry.

Lev and his wife Zarina* have always had a heart for justice; so much so that, despite having very little money themselves, they poured everything they had into the orphanage. The couple couldn't even afford to have furniture in their home – just a few mattresses and some sheets.

But despite Lev’s passion and selflessness, the girls couldn’t seem to escape the cycle of poverty in which they were caught. They were leaving the orphanage with few vocational or social skills.

Consequently, 90% of the girls became victims of human trafficking and other crime. Lev desperately wanted to do something for them, but didn’t have the means. ‘I began to doubt my work,’ he tells us. ‘I thought, maybe this is something that God does not want.’

A bright idea
But then Lev heard about a Tearfund partner who were offering development training to help people like him. There was even the opportunity to apply for a cash grant. He eagerly participated in the training, then came up with an idea.

With the money from the grant, he would set up baking courses for girls who left the orphanage. The skills they learned on the course would help them to find employment, thus avoiding the dangers that would have waited for them otherwise.

Lev’s application for the grant was approved. He used the money to buy ovens and other baking equipment, then started work on the project. Zarina took on the role of head chef, teaching the girls how to make traditional pastries, while Lev handled the admin.

The baking courses solved two problems in one. Not only were the girls given vital skills, but Lev and Zarina could then sell on the excess pastries to generate a small income for themselves. They were finally able to buy furniture for their home.

‘This project gave my family an opportunity to earn a living and continue our work in the orphanage,’ says Lev. ‘Now my wife can bring our pastry to the children as we visit them.

‘But the most important thing is that we can teach girls from the orphanage and help them to get employed. It gives them hope for a normal future and an opportunity to get out of poverty’.

*Names have been changed to protect identities.


  • Thank God for Lev, and for his inspirational selflessness. Ask God to help us all be more selfless in our own lives.
  • Pray for Tearfund’s partners in the Central Asian States, who often work in challenging circumstances. Pray that God will continue to bless their work.
  • Lift up all those around the world who are orphans; that they will find love and hope in the arms of their Heavenly Father.

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