What does Romania have in common with Rwanda?
For one: Romania also has bakeries!
One bakery in particular, MamaPan Bakery, is tackling social challenges with a similar model to The Women’s Bakery.
In December Julie and Meg made a stop in Bucharest, Romania on their way home to the U.S. for the holidays. This trip was initiated thanks to Livia, Director of Programs for MamaPan Bakery, who proposed we visit.
MamaPan Bakery started as an initiative under a non-profit organization, CPE (Partnership for Equality), as an income generating mechanism for the women working in the bakery and a revenue stream for the non-profit itself.
It was uncanny to note how similar MamaPan and The Women’s Bakery in Remera (Rwanda) were. Both organizations have been running for about a year and a half, both employ eight women, both are nearly at profitability, both strive for more healthful bread options, and both are slowly changing the lives of the women who work in the bakeries. While we were there, Livia told us that just that week one of the women who works in the bakery was finally able to get heating in her home. These are the small improvements in livelihood that make a huge difference for the women and their families.
The most important part of our trip was the development of new friendships with a group of women that believe in the same kind of change we believe in. We now know two groups of women in entirely different places working towards the same goals. We can now be each other’s mentors share ideas, consult when the challenges seem great, and help each other build a community of strong women baking bread.