If you ever wondered how one person can change the world – meet Markey Culver.
In 2012 Markey was working in Africa as a volunteer for the Peace Corps. She was hungry for more than the routine meals she was consuming day in and day out. Markey decided to plant her own vegetable garden and construct her own oven (yes, you read that right) to bake bread so that her lunch could be a little more exciting. Bread did not exist in Bushoga and the women of the village were in awe. So, Markey began teaching the women how to bake. From that small act, a huge idea was born. Today The Women’s Bakery teaches women in places where nutrition, education and jobs are scarce, to build businesses that feed communities and support families.
The Women’s Bakery has changed the way I think about an everyday staple forever.
This program allows women to learn about business, life skills and nutrition. And why women? Because when a woman in a developing country earns $1, 85 cents is invested in her family. “By empowering a woman, one empowers a family, and in turn, an entire community.”
It’s incredible how we can go through life taking seemingly simple things for granted. Take bread and bikes as an example.
So, what about the bikes?
For many women in Africa riding a bike is considered a no-no. This is based on perceptions that cycling causes negative health consequences and false beliefs about the sex drive of women who ride bikes. The Peace Corps Let Girls Ride Campaign
sought to do something about these perceptions by organizing a women’s ride and educational event to teach lessons on gender equality, stereotypes and empowerment. The Women’s Bakery participated in this event and was a recipient of funds raised during the campaign.
Of course bringing bikes to bakeries made all the sense in the world. It would allow women to make bread deliveries faster and further. But sometimes the simplest concepts are brutally hard to achieve where small mindedness runs rampant. Once again, The Women’s Bakery is breaking gender stereotypes by empowering women to ride.
When I saw this picture of a grown women riding a bike for the first time, my heart wanted to burst from my chest. I sent an email to my local friend – one of the people who made the dream of this charity a reality – to find out how many more bikes were needed and how I could help secure them.
Now, each of their bakeries has (or will soon have) a bicycle. I want to work to ensure that each bakery that opens in the future will too.
Please join me at CycleBar Chesterfield on Saturday April 29 at 4:00 for a Let Girls Ride, ride.
In leiu of payment for the class, your donation will contribute to funds that will be used to purchase bikes for bakeries throughout Africa.
I look forward to seeing you there!!