The Bakery School ProjectSupport for Abused Teenage Girls in Sri Lanka
The Bakery School Project
The Bakery School Project teaches teenage girls – the victims of violent and sexual abuse in Sri Lanka, who are confined in a ‘home’ until they are 18 years – cooking and baking skills. The project has done very well in its first five years of operation, with more than 90% of graduates finding employment, giving them hope for a new start in life. The project also provides English language tuition and classes on interview preparation and simulation.
RoundTrip has partnered with the Bakery School project and our future objectives, apart from attaining sufficient funding for the project to continue are:
- providing a counselling service
- providing a diversity of employment opportunities beyond baking
- helping the girls reunite with their families (they are often rejected after they have been released from the home)
RoundTrip was proud to receive financial support from the Bennelong Foundation from 2016 to 2018. It was largely spent on major equipment, such as ovens, tables, cake mixers and a freezer. Bennelong’s generous support has been crucial in establishing the school and particularly in attaining equipment required for a professional kitchen. We are proud to announce that we have secured funding from the Tucker Foundation for 2019. This is very important because the costs of the school are significant – it is run by an extremely professional setup, and it costs money to maintain the high standards.
In May 2018 a long held dream was realised when a special needs stream of students came online. This stream provides an opportunity for teenagers with Down syndrome, and sight and hearing difficulties to also acquire baking skills. We then assist in setting them up with baking equipment at home, so they can produce and sell bakery goods.
If you can contribute, even in a small way, to this exceptional program, it’s a wonderful way to have a positive impact and give back.
Background of the Students
The girls’ home we work with in southern Sri Lanka has around 76 occupants between 13 and 17 years of age. The girls are mostly the victims of rape, sexual abuse and domestic violence. The girls in the home ‘need protection’ because the cases against their perpetrators (usually family members or someone close to the family) can drag on for years in Sri Lanka’s court system. During this time the girls’ lives are often in danger. After being released at 18 years of ages, many girls end up on the streets, getting involved in prostitution, crime and drugs (during their time at the girls’ home they acquire no skills or training).