By Nandini Srinivasan
The aroma of freshly baked bread and pastries wafts around when you enter The Green Hotel on Hunsur Road, Mysuru. You have healthy breads of every kind from the usual to ragi bread, baked to perfection by the women at the all-women bakery, the only one of its kind in city. Started by the charity entrepreneur Dame Hilary Blume six years ago to help the underprivileged girls, the bakery today supplies bread to several well-known outlets in the city. The girls recruited here are referred by NGO Rural Literacy and Health Programme (RLHP), which works with the underprivileged. Girls are trained for six months on the job before they lend a hand in the baking process.
Around 40-60 loaves of bread are baked everyday only on order and you have flaxseed bread, multi-grain bread, ragi bread, garlic bread, French loaf and many more. Unless there is a huge order, most of the mixing is done manually which gives the bread a special texture.
Their pastries speciality range from apple cakes, carrot and date cakes to the very popular lemon cake. The classy Victorian sponge English cake is the new favourite. Lynda Hand and Wendy Braverman, well-known bakers, had come all the way from London to train the girls in baking these special cakes.
The bakery hopes to provide employment to more girls. The common belief is that working in a bakery isn’t a woman’s job as it is physically taxing to lift the big trays and knead dough. ‘If women can lift their babies they can lift the trays too. The girls here do a perfect job,’ says Dame Hilary.
Pushpa and Vasanthi, who have been with the bakery since its inception, are glad they came here.
Knit for Peace
The Knit for Peace initiative started by Dame Hilary Blume of the Hotel here saw women from across the world come to Mysuru to get-together again and knit sweaters for the underprivileged.
More than 20 women from across professions and across the world gathered at the Hotel early this month and knit sweaters, booties and hand puppets to be distributed to the underprivileged. The group had also brought in a huge stock of sweaters and other knitted wear and distributed it to the deserving in and around the city.