SUBANG JAYA: For some, baking is both fun and therapeutic. Simple acts like measuring ingredients or mixing batter, is pure bliss.
More than just a fun and creative activity, it can also be a way to earn additional income, even from the comfort of one’s home.
To that end, Project Hope Welfare Association launched the Ezy Baking Workshop Community Centre on March 11 for members of the B40 community.
Located in Goodyear Court 2 in Subang Jaya, the free baking workshops held over 13 weeks, are meant to equip the community with specific skills so that they can be more self-sustaining and less financially dependent on others for their survival.
The centre, sponsored by PPB Group Berhad and Persatuan Promosi Matlamat Pembangunan Lestari, is fitted with ovens and workbenches. It was launched by Subang Jaya assemblyperson, Michelle Ng.
At the workshop, participants learn how to bake banana bread, sausage buns, butter cookies, American chocolate cake as well as fruit tarts, cream cheese tarts and blueberry tarts, among others.
The workshops, held on either Fridays or Saturdays, are conducted by a professional baker.
“By imparting knowledge and skills to those who are interested in baking but can’t afford formal training, we hope to help improve their skills and livelihood. The workshops aim to open up opportunities for participants to excel, gain employment, or an additional income stream,” said Lai Leen Roberts, 64, the chairperson of the association.
Part of the workshop also includes a digital marketing session on how to utilise social media to promote their baked goods.
The association hopes to enrol 16 participants per cohort who will receive a certificate of attendance upon completion. The programme is open to everyone in the B40 community, regardless of race or gender.
Excitement and the smell of cookies in the air
The first classes were conducted on March 3 and 4, ahead of the official March 11.
During FMT’s visit on March 3, the atmosphere was lively and filled with laughter. There was a sense of excitement in the air – along with the delicious smell of butter cookies baking in the oven!
Speaking to FMT, Uma Magesvary, a participant, shared: “I want to start a home-based catering business someday and [baking] would be an added skill.”
The 50-year-old, who is better known as Maria, shared that she has been a single mother of four since her husband passed away 11 years ago. Due to health issues, she left her job in November last year.
“I am also looking forward to the digital marketing session,” she shared, adding that this is a good initiative for her to upskill.
A similar sentiment was echoed by fellow participant, Devi Krishnan, 44. After leaving her job following the passing of her parents in 2020, she is now looking forward to learning baking, something that she has always been interested in.
“I hope to start a business someday. So, I was very excited and happy when I heard about this workshop,” she told FMT, adding that it gives her a sense of hope about the future.
Hope through empowerment
And just like the NGO’s name, ‘hope’ is what the association aims to bring to those they help, something they have been doing since April 2020.
According to its operations manager, Gopalakrishnan Rajundra, 42, the NGO regularly provided food aid to those in need during the pandemic
Then, in 2021, when certain parts in Malaysia were hit by floods, the association provided a measure of crisis relief to those affected.
“After the floods subsided, we found out about at least 20 families who needed help to rebuild their lives. So, we raised funds to help them,” shared Alex Chan, 60, the assistant operations manager.
These days, the association continues to distribute staple food items to approximately 300 families who are either hardcore poor or disabled, as well as a community of Orang Asli in Negeri Sembilan.
Ultimately, there is a bigger impact they hope to make on those they reach out to. “More than just providing food aid, we want to uplift their general well-being. If we can assist to improve their livelihood, we will do that,” shared Roberts.