International Women's Day Charity Fundraiser - 8th March 2024

International Women's Day Charity Fundraiser - 8th March 2024

Most of you will know that I hold a fundraising event every year to celebrate International Women's Day on 8th March. This year, I've chosen to support Breadwinners, a social enterprise that supports refugees and young people seeking asylum in the UK into employment through baking artisan bread. 20% of profits from postal box sales  will be donated to Breadwinners. 

The 2024 theme for International Women’s Day is Inspire Inclusion. When we inspire others to understand and value women's inclusion, we forge a better world. And when women themselves are inspired to be included, there's a sense of belonging and empowerment. Belonging and empowerment are two words that came up several times during my conversation with Ruth, an inspiring Breadwinners graduate, when talking about her time during the programme.

Founded in 2016, Breadwinners supports young refugees into work by delivering three employability programmes in London and Brighton that provide jobs, work experience, training and mentoring at their market stalls and wholesale service. Around 70% of refugees in London are unemployed despite being highly skilled. Refugees face many barriers when looking for work in the UK: lack of connections, legal constraints, bias and discrimination. Until they are granted status, which can take years, asylum seekers are not allowed to work. This makes it difficult to gain work experience to help them get a job when they are granted asylum. Refugees and young people seeking asylum have so many talents and skills that must be recognised and nurtured, which is exactly what Breadwinners does.

Ruth graduated from the Breadwinners programme(s) in 2021 and inspired one of the recipes in this years box as we talked about her Nigerian heritage, food culture and what Breadwinners means to her.  

She grew up in Benin City, Nigeria, in a food orientated family. Her mother ran a restaurant (actually named after Ruth!) and so naturally always felt comfortable in a food environment. Eating together and feeding people is a way of life in Nigeria and like many cultures across the world, food is always an important part of family, community and relationships. She arrived in the UK in 2010 as a victim of human trafficking and some years later found Breadwinners, through Host Nation, in 2019 after obtaining her status. Ruth progressed through the various programmes at Breadwinners but running the market stalls in Hammersmith and Chelsea was where she truly gained her confidence. I loved hearing about her eye opening experiences in Chelsea Market, trying so many things that she never thought she'd taste, from Oysters (didn't like them! don't blame her) to Sushi (liked that!) and forming relationships with other welcoming market traders. What stands out the most is the sense of community spirit, acceptance and lack of judgement from traders, customers and peers.

She tells me that being part of Breadwinners was "Being part of something good" and that her confidence after the programme is now  “through the roof” as a result of the programme(s). It is so inspiring to hear her talk about what Breadwinners has done for her, and so many others over the years. “No matter where you’re from, Breadwinners treats you as family, and you are forever part of the family. Breadwinners gives people hope and empowers you”. If that isn’t inspiring inclusion I don't know what is.

Ruth speaks passionately about the foods she used to eat in Nigeria, from Zobo (a refreshing drink made from Hibiscus) to Puff Puff (a delicious sounding leavened sweet fried dough snack flavoured with nutmeg) and about many of the ingredients commonly used in Nigerian cooking. Whilst Nigerian’s don’t seem to be big on baked goods (what!? I’m not sure I’m ok with this!) I’ve taken some of the ingredients and flavours that are prevalent in Nigerian cooking, to inspire one of my recipes for International Women’s day that I’ve created to share with you. I’ve combined bananas, plantains and fresh pineapple into a super moist sponge, spiced with fresh grated nutmeg and a pinch of cloves, wrapped up with caramelised coconut buttercream. This is a one time recipe that won’t be sold again!

And if you REALLY want the icing on the cake (pun intended) 8th March also happens to be Ruth’s birthday! You can find out more about her story on the Breadwinners website.

I hope you can join me in celebrating International Women’s Day this year, by buying some cake whilst supporting an amazing cause and help to inspire inclusion. Send a beautiful box of cake to a friend, sister, daughter, mother, yourself (!) and anyone who inspires inclusion and share some love through a piece of cake and a cup of tea.

This years IWD Box contains: 

  • Blackcurrant, Bay & White chocolate cake (inspired by the colours that represent IWD, purple, green and white)
  • Breadwinners inspired spiced banana, pineapple and coconut cake
  • Double chocolate, tahini and caramelised sesame cake (Great Taste Award winner 2023)
  • Lemon & Raspberry cake
  • Hand written gift card
  • Single origin Birchall Afternoon tea
  • Recipe card to make my Breadwinners inspired cake at home

    Limited availability until sold out! You can purchase a box here

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