A R740 000 Donation by South African Muslim Charitable Trust Brings On-stream
A Baking School In Fordsburg Dedicated
To Entrepreneurial Development And Escape From The Poverty Trap

An innovative empowerment intervention is poised to change the lives of some of the most impoverished, unemployed and unskilled historically disadvantaged people in the Fordsburg area of Johannesburg, teaching them new baking skills, so opening the door to self-employment and an escape from South Africa’s poverty trap.

Led by the Al Fidaa Foundation and supported financially by the South African Muslim Charitable Trust (SAMCT), a new Baking School has been established by the Fordsburg-based FEED Foundation. The facility’s establishment follows the Al Fidaa Foundation’s hugely successful of a Baking School in Port Elizabeth in 2017 and its expansion last, the result of exceptionally rapid uptake of its skills offering.

The SAMCT donated R740 000 for the creation of the new Fordsburg Baking School.

Speaking at a recent function to mark the official hand-over of the facility, SAMCT representative, Mr Faried Boltman, said of the original Baking School in Port Elizabeth: “This is a facility designed to provide opportunities for entrepreneurial development in an under-developed and under-resourced area. That the facility flourished exceedingly rapidly bears testament to the fact that the Foundation’s and our belief in the identified idea was correct.”

He said that it had become apparent by the Baking Schools immediate success that the concept had the potential for replication, providing similar opportunities ‘for other socio-economically challenged communities’ in South Africa.

“We, of the SAMCT, were quick to see the potential for the replication of the Port Elizabeth facility here in Fordsburg, given the meteoric development of that baking school and, of course, the prevailing socio-economic needs here, so similar to those in the Eastern Cape. Endemic poverty remains the curse of South Africa and is something, unfortunately, which is going to take many years of concerted effort by Government, NGOs and the private sector to beat into submission,” said Mr Boltman.

He added: “To their eternal credit, both the Al Fidaa Foundation and FEED Foundation are organisations which have long-shown absolute dedication to addressing this national shortcoming, working tirelessly to uplift the down-trodden, to empower the dis-empowered and skill the unskilled amongst us – so creating a better life for affected individuals and communities alike. Jobs are at a premium, unemployment is consequently rife and the unemployed becoming ever more dispirited. Entrepreneurship is the answer and will go a long way towards freeing people mired in poverty.”

Baking has been identified as one of the most effective means to self-employment for individuals and, especially, women from disadvantaged communities. Learning to bake does not require a

formal education, whilst start-up and overhead costs are low and stock purchases affordable. Baking provides immediate income and decent profit margins.

The FEED Foundation’s new Baking School is aimed at, specifically, the unemployed and unskilled, providing unique free courses to teach learners to bake a range of items capable of creating a sustainable income using equipment as basic as a two-plate stove.

“The bottom line is that skills transfer is the most productive method to making a really meaningful and sustainable impact on the lives of people, affording them dignity a sense of self-worth and transforming them into contributors to the economy,” said Mr Boltman.

He said the SAMCT had moved quickly to fund a venture, the model of which had already proved so successful. “We were so pleased to be in a position to approve and provide R740 000 for the development, in Fordsburg, of a project with limitless entrepreneurial development potential,” he said.

The Al Fidaa Foundation will oversee and co-ordinate the Fordsburg version of the Baking School.

“Given the organisation’s Port Elizabeth success, I have every confidence that this new venture will follow the same incredible growth trajectory. Of added benefit, of course, is the fact that the Foundation’s partner in this undertaking – the FEED Foundation – is itself an accomplished servant of the historically disadvantaged. The FEED Foundation came into existence in 2005, thanks to a group of concerned and like-minded Muslim women who chose to give freely of their time in the quest to alleviate poverty and to work towards creating sustainable communities,” said Mr Boltman.

The FEED Foundation currently provides cooked meals to 300 individuals daily and supplies groceries, as necessary, whilst also facilitating the preparation of meals for centres with residence- based orphans and/or community children living below the breadline, thus being responsible for the delivery of a staggering 700 cooked meals every day. It has also developed a vegetable and fruit garden at the Coronation Training Centre, providing a degree of food security for the centre and the learners in its care, with surplus harvest going towards feeding the impoverished in the wider community.

The Foundation is also active in kitting disadvantaged primary school earners with shoes, socks and beanies, as well as vital stationery items, whilst providing hygiene packs and sanitary towels to those in need attending secondary schools in the area. It also provides tertiary education advisory services and offers young people mentorship opportunities.

Mr Boltman said: “This empowerment initiative, the Baking School, undertaken in conjunction with the Al Fidaa Foundation is the perfect fit for the organisation, extending its offering to include women who have battled to enter the job market, by providing them both a skill and an entrepreneurial opportunity, in order that they might achieve their potential.”

The SAMCT was established in 2008, the result of a partnership between Old Mutual Unit Trusts and Al Baraka Bank for the creation, marketing and distribution of a suite of Shariah Funds. Such partnership ensures that the SAMCT is the beneficiary of this Shariah suite of funds in order to provide funding, services and other resources for the improvement of the lives of the vulnerable, deprived and disadvantaged.

The organisation has been singularly successful in delivering sizeable assistance solutions throughout South Africa – irrespective of race or religion – and continues to work to support needy organisations in the fields of health, social development, education and, of course, poverty alleviation.


For more information about SAMCT or
its Fordsburg FEED Foundation Baking School donation, please contact:

Rasheeda Motala

Social Responsibility Officer Tel: 084 506 2280
Email: samct@samct.co.za

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