South Africa – October 9 2017

Delivering daily bread through solar power

Few things beat the smell and taste of freshly baked bread. Now the SOS Children’s Village Mamelodi, South Africa can enjoy this treat every day – as well as earning some extra income – thanks to a new solar-powered bakery funded by the Embassy of Switzerland.

The project for a carbon-neutral bakery evolved out of the embassy’s decision to equip an alternative care programme in Mamelodi with a professional bakery to bake bread for disadvantaged children and families – and to sell the surplus to provide an income for the Village. As the bakery uses solar energy, running it can be both carbon neutral and cost-effective.

Helene Budliger Artieda, Swiss Ambassador to South Africa Helene Budliger Artieda said SOS Children’s Village Mamelodi approached embassies a few years ago to ask for support in building a bakery.

“At first we thought we would do a normal bakery inside a container. But after much consultation and deliberation, the most cost-effective and eco-friendly solution was a solar-powered bakery.”

The eco-friendly bakery can make up to 80 loaves of bread in 40 minutes – feeding not only children and families in the SOS Children’s Village Mamelodi, but also in the local community.

Programme Director Kgomotso Loate said: “We are over the moon that we can now make our own bread. The children here are heavily dependent on bread, and some enjoy only one meal a day, which is from here. So the fact that we can make our own bread means we can feed more mouths efficiently in a cleaner way and at a lower cost.”

The SOS Children’s Village Mamelodi opened in 1987 and is currently home to 75 children between the ages of three and 18. The Village has two Social Centres that offer HIV/AIDS community-based child care and a support programme that offers vocational training courses in information technology and dressmaking for up to 2,000 people every year.

Thanks to the generosity and innovation of the Swiss Embassy, SOS Mamelodi can now provide local families with a bakery that caters for their own needs and provides a much-needed source of income too.

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