After a lot of hard work and support from its board, staff and affiliated organisations, The Bread and Butter Project has turned one.
Created by the team behind Sydney’s Bourke Street Bakery, the project returns all profits back into the enterprise to fund the ongoing training of refugees and to provide them with the skills for meaningful and sustainable employment. The bakery currently delivers more than 10,000 units of bread per week to 100 regular wholesale customers.
After several months with the program, the project’s first two trainees, Ma Du and Somprasong Srisungnern, have graduated with a Certificate II in Retail Baking assistance. With business booming, the pair has been re-employed as bakers/trainers to meet increasing demand, realising the project’s motto: “makers of bakers”.
Originally from Burma, Ma said her employment with The Bread and Butter Project has not only increased her family’s income, but also encouraged her husband to help out around the house, including cooking meals for the family.
“Every day I am happy because I make my own money and I can save money. I am happy and proud because I can support my family,” she said, also acknowledging the program’s English as a second language lessons have improved her job prospects and confidence.
The project’s second trainee, Somprasong, agreed, saying her entire family has been positively impacted by her employment. Not only has she gained a practical certification, but her employment also means she can now provide opportunities for her children, such as being able to send them on school camp.
“One reason I love to know how to bake bread is because it is so important in Australia. Everyone eats bread here. It is a simple food, good on its own and I am happy because my sons love it too,” she said.
To celebrate its first birthday, The Bread and Butter Project sold limited edition loaves – including apple, raisin and oat sourdough batard – at the Saturday Eveleigh Carrageworks Markets and the SMH Growers Market in Pyrmont.
The women’s achievements were celebrated at a special ceremony in the bakery. One of the project’s founders, Paul Allum, said the graduation is a huge milestone.
“It’s beyond words. This is just a moment that we’ve been working on for three-and-half-years,” he said, as reported by ABC News.
“The founding team was six strong and we worked as volunteers after our jobs and it was a fun time for all of us and to see it come together like this is just really quite amazing.
“To see everyone come together, it’s a great little celebration of what we’ve achieved, especially with Ma and Somprasong.”
As the Bread and Butter Project heads into its second year, it will soon start two more refugee trainees on the program.
To support the project as a volunteer or to make a donation, visit www.thebreadandbutterproject.com.