Eleven years ago, gifts to ELCA World Hunger—directed through Lutheran Church in Southern Africa Development Services, an associate program of The Lutheran World Federation—served as the yeast that helped give rise to a successful small business: a bakery. It’s a success story filled with the aroma of baked bread.
Sarah has been a baker with the Tshixwadza Bakery Project for its 11 year history. Sarah and the nine other project members work in two teams, with each team working alternating weeks. It’s hard work. The day begins at 3 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. There is no running water at the bakery. Since water is rationed in the community, the bakers are only allowed to fill their water buckets at the community tap on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Although the bakery has electric lights, they still cook and bake using firewood.
The women can make 86 to 102 loaves of bread a day, which they sell by the whole loaf, half loaf, and quarter loaf. They also make fried dough balls as a special treat for the children who stop by the bakery on the way to school.
“ELCSA-DS did a lot for us,” said Sarah. “They helped us get a roof, our first supplies, electricity, and ovens.” Each of the 10 project members invested about $300 in the business. Over the years they have re-invested earnings to make improvements in the bakery.
Today, the bakery is self-sustaining. And the 10 bakers have used the profits to build sustainable livelihoods for their families. Sarah asks us to remember the bakery and “continue to pray for us.” She goes on to promise, “we will pray for you.” Your gifts to ELCA World Hunger support sustainable solutions to fight hunger and poverty like the Tshixwadza Bakery Project and many other ministries around the world and close to home.