Baking Bread and Building a Future
Posted by Emily Lansdell on December 12, 2019

In the village of Tombolombo, Malawi, the community is rejoicing over the Mtendere Bakery, which opened in November. In their native language, “Mtendere” means “peace” and this bakery appropriately represents peace and hope for a group of 10 local women who opened the bakery. Together they funded the business using money they saved from their work in the local farming co-operative, and a microloan through the Women of Hope ministry.

“I cannot believe my eyes,“ said community member, Smith Chunga. “Is this really the Tombolombo I used to know a few weeks ago? I will buy bread and buns to carry home to show my wife and enjoy with my family as we eat.”

This successful project is just a part of the ongoing investment in this region of Malawi that began in 2018 under the direction of HHI agriculture trainer and local preacher, Mbwenu Chirwa. The more than 700 farmers in the villages of Tombolombo, Dimi and Endindeni were trained by Mbwenu in methods that increased their maize production. Our generous donors helped to fund grain milling equipment, which has enabled farmers in all three areas to double their income through maize flour production. Donations made in memory of the late David Goolsby, former HHI agriculture director, have provided the roofing, windows, and doors for the grain milling buildings.

The bakery has been a labor of love since the first day it began and involves everyone in the community. Both men and women farm and mill the maize to make flour, and then the women use the flour for baking. The idea for the bakery began with little more than a foundation and a dream, but they are finishing the construction of the bakery house with plastering, flooring and painting. Their dream is that enough money will be raised to finish building the storeroom, bathrooms and kitchen as an extension to the bakery house.

“We thank the HHI team and all those who send their help to Malawi,” said Catherine Chisi, a local woman who works at the bakery. “That is the best way of showing and sharing God's Love to His people. May God bless you. We give glory to God for everything.”

Mbwenu Chirwa said that the bakery has been a huge encouragement to everyone in the community and the local church, which has grown by over 100 in attendance in the last year. There is a healthy market demand for high quality baked goods, and the work is going better than the women could have ever imagined. They have formed a flexible schedule that allows them to work and earn an income, which provides school fees for their children and supports their families.

We are THANKFUL for the wonderful way that GOD is working through Agriculture Education and Women of Hope to empower people to transform their lives and communities!