During lockdown, the usual traders stopped coming to the community and there was a widespread shortage of bread. It was then that the women approached their local self-help group for support.
The self-help group in Idah’s community was set up by Tearfund and our local church partner. The aim is for people to come together and address their common problems, save money, and encourage one another in business ventures.
The self-help group was able to give the women a small loan to get the equipment they needed to get the bakery up and running. They soon came up against new challenges, but they were determined not to give up.
‘First the stove could not fire but we did not despair, we approached a member of the community who came up with a new design and from there we did not look back,’ says Idah. ‘We have been supplying bread to the community since the coronavirus lockdown.’
Not only were the bakers able to feed people during a time of need, they were also able to earn extra income to sustain their families during the lockdown.
‘Most of the men here are not employed and with the lockdown it was difficult for them to find small jobs, so the little money we earned helped our families in more than one way,’ explains Idah.
On the rise
The bakery has continued to live up to its name. When lockdown restrictions were eased, the small bakery lost some of their trade – but they soon found innovative ways to overcome this.
To keep the money coming in, the women started rearing chickens for eggs. They also sometimes exchange their bread for grain, which they can then sell to grain buyers who pass through their farming community.
One thing is for sure: the women at Kushinga bakery are not stopping any time soon.
‘The dream is to pass on the bakery from one generation to the next, and be known as families of bakers,’ says Idah. ‘We want our names to be synonymous with quality bread and confectionery.’