I’m continuously inspired by just how international The Women’s Bakery’s work is becoming.
On average, we receive between two to four emails a week from people all over the world requesting our model – or a portion of it – to implement in their community. South Africa, Botswana, Uganda, Kenya, Iran, Iraq, The Caribbean, Honduras, and India, just to name a few this year.
What’s exciting about these inquiries is, simply, that they exist. There are people around the world who, like us, had similar revelations that bread could be a powerful medium for women’s empowerment. They see that bakeries can spur an economic ecosystem – meet product demand and support employment for an entire chain of new workers. It’s powerful. Not because bakeries are a new thought, bread is as ancient as it gets, but because people see power in the ripple effect that one small bakery can have.
The international inspiration continued when, two weeks ago, Julie Greene and I had the opportunity to present The Women’s Bakery’s work to a wonderful audience in Madrid, Spain. Spain! How many people who run a small (but mighty) social enterprise get invited to present on a continent where they don’t (currently) operate? So cool.
The idea for the event began a year ago when Julie’s family friend, Pablo Martinez , suggested that people in Spain would be very interested to learn more about our work. Julie jumped at the opportunity and the planning began. Pablo is the CEO of Colección SOLO, a firm dedicated to showcasing the vibrancy and inspiration of contemporary art. He and his SOLO amazing team organized and executed a beautiful event showcasing TWB to a diverse, engaged audience. We presented at SOLO’s newly constructed, gorgeous art gallery and the evening was buzzing with excited conversation, ideas and inspiration.
This year is the first time we have had the opportunity to present to secondary and tertiary audiences. That means that no one in the audience, other than our one contact, knows us or is directly connected to us. It also means that people have the space to be more critical because they don’t have a personal investment in one of our team members. But, the enthusiasm in Madrid was palpable. People were so energized by TWB’s work and inspired by our vision.
When this happens – and the vision for the power of bread spreads – we are reminded of the why of what we do. We can’t wait to go back to Spain – and beyond!