Within the spider web of streets in Varanasi, tired tourist stomachs finds relief among the whole grain bread and fresh fruit salads offered at the Brown Bread Bakery: A bakery quite unusual, not only because of its European pastries, but because of its appreciated involvement with the local society.
Brown Bread Bakery was founded to finance a children’s school in the neighbourhood; the Learn for Life School. This initiative was made by Baba Shankar and his son Amet Sharma in 2005. They experienced that the poor families could not afford schooling for their children. The result was a bad circle: the children without education were bound to work within the same field as their parents, not affording their own children to receive education either.
Wishing to support and offer the children a better future, Shankar and Sharma opened the Learn for Life School and the Brown Bread Bakery. The result: over a hundred children have attained a governmentally approved diploma of basic schooling and scholarships, enabling them to attend further education.
It does not stop there though, in addition to financing a children’s school, the Brown Bread Bakery also support a local women empowerment group: ARTI. ARTI produces organic goods, such as muesli, nuts and flour. The bakery buys these products and sells them to their customers, 100% of the profit goes to ARTI.
The cooperation between these two organizations shows how different initiatives can enhance each other. The bakery is increasing its popularity among tourists being able to offer organic products, this increase the children’s school budget resulting in more children receiving an education. At the same time, the women empowerment group is growing stronger the more popular their products get.
Any traveller in India should not miss the opportunity to ditch the endless offers of curry to rye bread for just one breakfast; turning consume of delicious pastries to a support of great social initiatives.