Report on the W.I. meeting held on Wednesday 13th, 2012.
The Ifikara Bakery Project and The Free Bread Funds – Tanzania

When Margaret and her husband, Swiss-born Eugene Schellenberg visited their doctor son and his wife, who lived in a town called Ifakara, about 240 miles from Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania, they found that there was severe malnutrition of the population, particularly among the children when the staple crop of maize failed in periods of extended drought.

While they were there they met the Sisters of St. Francis Convent who were trying desperately to find a source of food that could sustain the population all the year around, and not be affected by the weather. They had come up with the idea of building a bakery, as bread was unobtainable in the area, and it is accepted that wheat flour contains more nutrients than any other single food.

Eugene, who had spent his working life in the food machinery industry, and Margaret, who was a dietician, decided that this was something they could do to help the people of Ifakara, whom they had come to like and admire.
They decided to try and raise the funds (£30,000- for the equipment alone) to build a bakery. By giving talks to many groups and trusts funds in this country, the money was found, and one day a container load of bread baking equipment arrived in Ifakara, and was quickly installed.
Soon the bakery was producing hundreds of loaves a day, at minimum cost, with no shortage of customers. Free bread was distributed to the malnourished children in the hospital, whose health improved dramatically.
After 10 years, the running of the bakery was handed over to the Sisters of the convent, who trained apprentices, and it now produces 400 to 900 loaves daily, and is entirely self sufficient.

Then Eugene and Margaret then set up a charity called “Free Bread Funds” to supply bread to families that cannot afford to buy it themselves.
Free bread is delivered to the hospital, orphanage, Leprosy Centre, and many schools.
The annual cost of this project is £25,000, and is raised by Eugene and Margaret by giving talks, and with donations.
“ Bread is the Staff of Life” has been dramatically demonstrated in this inspiring story.