Did you know bread has the power to fight poverty? The battle for daily bread can be an all-consuming task and is a right frequently violated. One in nine people go to bed hungry every single day.*
But change is coming. And one way we’re bringing about long-term change is through bread. In Assin Bereku in rural Ghana, an extraordinary group of children are baking bread any bakery would be proud to sell.
Baking which empowers
Every week, 230 hungry children descend on their local Compassion project for breakfast. As part of equipping the children in the project to break the cycle of poverty, the church staff came up with the brilliant plan of baking their own bread on site which not only saved money but also taught the children income generating skills.
“The little ones are learning how to bake,” says David, the project director. “We want to equip them so that one day, if they want to take that job as their own, they can do something for their life.”
It’s an important job to feed everyone and a group of children aged between 10 and 15 were selected to form the baking club. It’s considered to be an honour to be trusted with this duty.
Each Friday afternoon, the young bakers assemble at their church. One group carries the flour to the local mill to be mixed and kneaded into bread dough. The rest of the children prepare the baking sheets by cleaning and greasing them.
When the dough is brought back from the mill, it’s divided up and molded into buns. The next morning, the group arrives by 6 a.m. to bake the risen dough in time for breakfast.
Meet the young bakers
“I have been taught something big, which will help in the future,” says 13-year-old Bismarck. “Someday when I am even employed, I shall still bake bread for an extra income. I will teach my wife and children in the future, and we will join hands and do it as another business for the family.”
Desmond adds, “I joined the baking club because I like baking and I want to bake bread for the project. I have been doing it for three years. When I bake, I feel very proud because it is a good work.”
Elizabeth, the leader of the baking club, says “Before we joined Compassion, most times we found it difficult to eat or even go to school because my father never had money,” she says. “But now any time we are hungry and we come here, the director gives us food. The workers at the project are kind to us. They have taught us many things to help us when we grow up.”
The power of bread lies in its ability to bring people together, even across oceans. As we break bread today, let it be a catalyst to gather around your table those who need it most.
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*Source: World Food Programme