On February 17, King Arthur is hosting a virtual baking class to support the Adamâ Bakery in Uganda. Learn more about this bakery and its impact below, and see our class calendar to sign up and support!
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For Chantal, a 24-year-old Rwandan and resident of the Oruchinga Refugee Settlement in southwestern Uganda, bread is more than sustenance. It’s a direct line to community, purpose, and belonging. A baker at the nascent Adamâ Bakery, which operates in the settlement, she makes bread on a regular basis for fellow residents.
“Participating in the bakery makes me feel a sense of belonging once again since I have people that I call family at the bakery,” she says. And that purpose goes beyond just baking. “One of my favorite things to do at the bakery is distribute buns to the hungry children in the community. The joy that children get when they receive a bun is beyond imagination, and it makes me feel satisfied.”
Claudine, a fellow baker originally from Congo, echoes Chantal. The bakery is committed to giving away at least 20% of their breads to the most vulnerable people in the refugee settlement: children. “This honestly brings me much joy and relief from the pain I feel when our children cry because of hunger,” shares Claudine.
Claudine says she’s able to support her family, as well as other vulnerable refugees, with the bread she makes in the bakery’s wood-fired oven — a change that’s made a profoundly positive impact on her life. Such is the goal of this bakery project, established by Adamâ Foundation Founder and Executive Director Ayelet Berman-Cohen of Los Angeles with the mission to create long-lasting, sustainable employment and hunger relief for people affected by war and violent conflict.
“What I really wanted to do was build bakeries for women that were hurt by war,” says Ayelet. Through her Adamâ Foundation, she started planning this project last year, eventually connecting with Angella Kushemererwa and Sophie Karungi of Vibrant Community Initiatives, a group working with refugee women in the settlement. Together, they worked from opposite sides of the globe to bring the bakery to life. “We took it step by step, with everything coordinated over WhatsApp.”
Jeffrey Hamelman, who previously ran King Arthur’s bakery, traveled to Uganda alongside Sara Molinaro of Ann Arbor's celebrated Zingerman’s Bakehouse last October to train bakers and help get the bakery up and running. Most trainees had no experience with bread making to start, but within 10 days, they were producing their own loaves and buns. “When they sold their first bread on the ninth day [of training], that was breathtaking,” says Jeffrey. “In fact, that was a huge victory.”
Onsite director Sophie has been doing trauma care in refugee settlements for the past six years. For her, the bakery’s biggest impact is the economic stability it provides for the bakers, and the hunger relief it provides to the children. She also points to how the bakery supplies training and skill development for women, men, and youth to help them live a sustainable life.
This includes Karim, a refugee from Burundi who already has plans to continue baking well into the future: “If peace ever comes back in Burundi, I will go back and start a bakery for the Burundians so they can also taste the delicious bread learned from Jeffrey and Sara." Fellow baker Marion has similar plans, sharing, "Now that I can bake, my life is better. I will bake bread, cakes, and cookies, and use other skills I know so that my daughter can reach university.”
This single bakery is just the beginning. Ayelet wants to see “more and more people make bread all over the world who are hurt by war, and more and more children getting fed by this movement.”
Join Jeffrey Hamelman for our virtual baking class to support the Adamâ Bakery on February 17. 100% of the tuition fee will be donated to the bakery to help make the business self-sustaining for long-term impact. See our class calendar to sign up!
Cover photo by Mark Weinberg.