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The Bread & Butter Project turns 10

The Bread & Butter Project, Australia’s first social enterprise bakery, celebrated its 10-year anniversary this June, during Refugee Week (June 18 to 24).

Founded in 2013 on a commitment to invest 100 per cent of its profits into training and employment pathways for people seeking refuge and asylum, The Bread & Butter Project has provided more than 81,000 training hours and helped 65 people graduate as professional artisan bakers in the last decade, helping them to find employment in Australia’s hospitality industry.

The program has welcomed baker trainees from a range of countries, including Iran, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Sierra Leone, Congo, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Myanmar, Thailand, Mongolia, Tibet, Sri Lanka, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and, more recently, Ukraine.

Co-founder Paul Allam says the success of The Bread & Butter Project is a testament to the power of social enterprise and the positive impact it can have on marginalised communities.

“By providing a supportive workplace that empowers trainee bakers and equips them for their new life in Australia, The Bread & Butter Project continues to help create a brighter future for many,” said Mr Allam.

“We support our trainees to secure employment after graduation with like-minded organisations who are passionate about creating a diverse and empowered workplace.

“I’m extremely proud of all we’ve done in the past decade, however there’s still so much to achieve and as the business continues to grow and evolve, we look forward to making a positive impact on the lives of many more refugees and asylum seekers coming to Australia.”

The Bread & Butter Project trainees hard at work in the Marrickville bakery. Photo: The Bread & Butter Project

A renowned Sydney chef and baker, Mr Allam helped establish The Bread & Butter Project after he visited an orphanage on the Thai-Burmese border with his wife Jessica Grynberg in 2011.

There, the pair met a group of refugee women and taught them how to bake bread, establishing a social business that supports the women and the orphanage to this day, and in turn inspiring the creation of The Bread & Butter Project.

Mr Allam and his business partner in the legendary Bourke Street Bakery, celebrated pastry chef and baker David McGuiness, worked to develop the concept of a social enterprise bakery at home in Sydney, including generously gifting what could have been a valuable wholesale business opportunity, plus their delicious recipes and many thousands of hours of support, to launch The Bread & Butter Project by 2013.

As a social enterprise, The Bread & Butter Project now operates as an independent commercial business, while also holding registered charity status due to its valuable role in creating opportunity and alleviating poverty.

Trainees at the Marrickville-based bakery are offered a 6-8 month paid training program that includes completion of a TAFE qualification, hands-on baking training, ESL tutoring and work placements.

For most trainees, it is their first paid job in Australia, with many having qualifications earned overseas that are not recognised in Australia, or no formal qualifications at all.

Hellen Rangil from Papua New Guinea, a graduate of the class of 2022, said The Bread & Butter Project gave her her first job and it was a lifesaver. ‘I will never forget that support.’ Photo: The Bread & Butter Project

This was the case for Hellen Rangil from Papua New Guinea, a graduate of the class of 2022, who credits The Bread & Butter Project for giving her the opportunity to support her family.

“The Bread & Butter Project was the first place to give me a job, in my lifetime, and I will never forget that support,” said Hellen.

“The Bread & Butter Project is a lifesaver—it is more than a place of work, to make money, or to get paid.

“It’s a place that promotes and upholds the dignity of a person or a family and gives them hope for a better life, especially those of us who wanted to make Australia our second home.”

The Bread & Butter Project celebrated its 10-year anniversary at a special evening event in Sydney on June 21, where graduates, trainees, customers, philanthropic supporters and a range of other guests gathered to look back on the project’s last 10 years.

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See thebreadandbutterproject.com

 

 

 

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