The morning started with a trip to see Sharon who was ready to show us how she makes her small cakes. Sharon has taken on the work of her husband who abandoned her when he found he had given her HIV.

Sharon’s husband had established a good business making little cakes for sale in the shops and at the bus stand. There was a room to store ingredients, and equipment and the outside ovens he used were still in good condition although old. Sharon received a grant of 200,000 Tz shillings from Mondo to help her to restock the business and get baking. She also attended a two day training with the other grant recipients which helped her to understand how to calculate her profit margin and organise her savings. Working in a group with the other ladies made her feel supported and gave her the motivation to make her business a success.

Already the huge washing bowl held the cake mixture: 60 eggs, sugar, flour, baking powder, milk and blueband had been mixed together and when the recipe says ‘by hand’ it is mixed by hand as well as arm. The mixture was well and truly blended and ready to be poured, one desert spoonful at a time, into the small rectangular trays that filled each tray. But first each little tray had to be painted with oil and the fire stoked to get hot. The trays were loaded into the oven and 30 minutes later the first of many hundreds of cakes came out of the oven. She sells the cakes for 850/- per packet of 6 and each day makes an approximate profit of 35,000/-, (£13) 15,000/- of which she pays to her assistant.

The profit from her business has helped her to support herself and her children Neema (12) and Gideon (7) who are both in school.

If you would like to help support more women like Sharon, we are currently raising funds for our next round of grants and loans. To help us achieve our target you can donate here.