At TWB, educational programming and training is at the forefront of our model. We don’t just employ any woman in our bakeries but rather those who have completed our intensive 200+ hour (now accredited) technical and vocational educational training program.
Education is access: access to a better income, a better job, a better life but most importantly, access to choices. The women we train, support and employ have a choice, every day, to come to work at TWB. To (oftentimes) wake up before the sun and work well into the afternoon, creating unique, healthy products for their communities, pushing through the lows of business and celebrating the highs. Education is power.
And you know what else is powerful? Witnessing our women transform from students to teachers and empowering a new group of women.
Enter Liziki. This woman is the definition of a rockstar. She has been with TWB since the beginning (2015) and works as a professional baker at the Kigali Flagship. She can bust out an order of 300+ sweet potato rolls in a morning, keep everyone on track to meet production goals and is just an amazing human being, mother, and friend. When our newest bakery, Gicumbi, was struggling with workflows, I had an idea: what if Liziki spent a few days with our newest employees and taught them her tips and tricks? The team at TWB has been experimenting with sending our more experienced women to train new, less experienced groups and the results had been positive.
Liziki spent three full days at our Gicumbi bakery leading, teaching and demonstrating. It was inspiring to see her in her element and to see how much respect the Gicumbi women had for her. From my corner office, I could overhear them asking her questions from when to rotate trays in the oven, to what the ideal rising time was, to how to work faster. Prior to Liziki’s arrival, the production team has been finishing baking around 2PM, which caused them to miss market/daylight sales opportunities. After one day of Liziki’s expertise, they were cranking out 15 kilograms of bread before noon! Not only was she empowering the women, she was empowered as, now, a trainer.
As if I wasn’t already beaming with pride, for Liziki and our Gicumbi group, on her last day, Liziki gave a powerful speech to the women. Her exact words were,
“Sometimes the Kigali group, we had to wake up early and come to work and sometimes we stayed late but it didn’t matter because we we’re so proud of what we were doing and we wanted to achieve something in our lives. We (the Kigali group) are where we are now because of TWB and our hard work. Some days will be hard but you must have confidence, work hard, never give up and be proud of what you are doing. This is how you will grow and achieve more.”
I couldn’t stop beaming (crying) with pride and joy: for Liziki, for our Kigali women, for our Gicumbi women, for ALL the women TWB has the privilege of working with and for our work-our gritty, innovative and dedicated work. It truly is impacting lives and that is #breadpower.