KANSAS CITY, MO — BEMA will host a one-hour virtual fundraising event to raise money and awareness for the The Women's Bakery (TWB) at 3 pm CST, Thursday, June 25.

TWB is a social enterprise headquartered in Denver, Colo., and Rwanda that empowers women and builds nutrition-centric bakeries in East Africa.

Founded in 2014, the heart of TWB's mission is to create access to social and economic opportunities for women and provide nutritious, affordable bread to East African communities. The social and economic opportunities created through TWB address the cycle of food insecurity and gender inequity in East Africa. Using the power of bread, women receive critical access to benefits including education, economic opportunity, and general health and wellness.

“As TWB grows and our bakeries move closer toward profitability, I am most proud of the steps we take to further empower the lives of our women bakers,” said Markey Culver, TWB founder and chief executive officer. “TWB’s Whole Women Programming is a key ingredient to our mission of empowering women and providing nutritious bread to the people of Rwanda. Thanks to the support of our champions, such as BEMA, TWB is poised to really grow.”

The event is in tandem with BEMA’s Virtual Convention 2020 and “Turikumwe” (We Are Together) campaign, moved online due to COVID-19 safety measures.   

“The Women’s Bakery is a real-world example of how bread can create a difference in people’s lives,” said Kerwin Brown, CEO, BEMA. “This virtual fundraiser will strengthen connections and highlight the industry’s ongoing philanthropic commitment to help others thrive during a time of unexpected need.”

The bakery's fundraising needs include: $500 for health insurance for TWB workers; $1,000 for on-site child daycare services for a year; $5,000 for delivery vehicles; $10,000 for two gender equity training programs; $25,000 for three months of social impact programming; $50,000 for a training program for new bakers in 2021; $75,000 for three new industrial ovens, one for each bakery and includes shipping and importation taxes; $100,000 for bakery operations in Kigali, Rwanda; and $150,000 to purchase the Gicumbi, Rwanda, bakery, which is currently leased.

“The Women’s Bakery is a place where I learn every day how to be a better leader, a better manager and, mostly, a better person,” said Tessa Soni, TWB program manager, Gicumbi and Ruyenzi bakeries. “There is something powerful in waking up every day genuinely fighting for a community of incredible women.”

BEMA encourages fundraiser participants to share the positive impact of TWB and its Turikumwe campaign by sharing photos and videos of pledges on social media using #TWB and #Turikumwe.