Baking success builds lives


Women training under WISH gain know-how in financial self-sufficiency via modules relating to baking and business skills.

Star Foundation’s RM50,000 grant to NGO enables disadvantaged women to gain skills, business acumen

WITH a mission to improve the lives of underprivileged women, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) in Selangor’s Gombak district has set up a development-focused community called Women In Sustainability Hub (WISH).

Set up in 2006 to benefit various groups, Pertubuhan Perkhidmatan Sosial dan Pembangunan Komuniti (PSPK) believes in working with like-minded bodies to create a holistic support system for these women.

To boost their efforts, PSPK had been selected as one of the recipients under the Star Foundation’s Star Social Impact Grant (SSIG).

The grant programme is an initiative aimed at supporting impact-driven sustainable community and green projects by NGOs and social enterprises.

“We are very appreciative of Star Foundation for their generosity in providing us the RM50,000 grant,” said PSPK assistant executive director R. Keerthana.

“This funding supports our WISH community development programme, which comprises seven modules offering training in baking and entrepreneurial skills delivered by three industry experts.

“The WISH programme has played a pivotal role in empowering these women by offering them the kick-start they need for a sustainable income,” she said.

Aligning its activities with United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5 pertaining to gender equality, PSPK believes in inclusivity, gender equality and the power of empowerment.

Through WISH, the NGO aims to equip disadvantaged women with the baking skills and business know-how to compete in the marketplace and earn a dignified living.

Keerthana shared that most of the participants had a passion for baking but faced setbacks due to limited market knowledge and having operated their businesses in isolation.

She explained that these factors lowered the women’s confidence and affected their ability to professionally produce cakes that could meet market demand.

“When I started as a baker prior to joining the programme, my baking and decoration skills were limited and plain,” said WISH beneficiary Pushpalatha, 50.

“After joining the programme, I have learned how to be more creative in my baking and decorations.

“They taught us how to use airbrushing tools on cakes and how to decorate cakes by using fondant flowers as well as other methods.

“With my current financial situation, I would not have been able to afford the course, so I am very thankful to PSPK for selecting me as one of the beneficiaries,” she added.

Thilagavathy, 51, another WISH beneficiary, said many in the community, especially housewives, were grateful to the NGO for empowering women with income-earning skills.

Keerthana also reported that the women had made impressive strides after completing the programme.

“It has been heartening to witness their progress, transitioning from home-based bakery businesses to supplying cakes to local food and beverage outlets.

“Most of them now feel empowered to sell their baked goods via online platforms from the comfort of their homes.

“This highlights the value of skills acquired during our programme that has enabled the women to initiate and manage their bakery business, resulting in a 10% to 20% increase in sales,” said Keerthana.

PSPK also ensures participants obtain the necessary advice and skills to manage their businesses profitably and reach the right customers.

“The financial literacy courses were very useful as they touched on profit margins and other financial topics to enable us to set up businesses properly.

“My sales have also increased due to this,” said Pushpalatha.

Thilagavathy said she found the digital marketing class helpful.

“We learned about online tools such as Canva and Google Forms, and I am able to apply this skillset in my business.

“I even learned about online documentation and how to do proposals,” said Thilagavathy.

Keerthana said these collective experiences defined the holistic approach and team spirit behind the community’s journey.

“One particularly inspiring aspect was observing their passion and shared desire to improve their situation.

“We witnessed a ripple effect of positivity and progress.

“It was genuinely gratifying to be part of their journey and see the tangible impact of the project on their lives,” she added.

WISH beneficiaries like Pushpalatha extended their gratitude to Star Foundation for their trust and support.

“From the bottom of my heart, I would like to thank Star Foundation so much. Through this, you have invested in us.”

Established in 2004, Star Foundation is the charitable arm of Star Media Group, which aims to deliver meaningful initiatives with lasting outcomes to diverse groups of beneficiaries.

For more information on Star Foundation’s work, visit starfoundation.com.my

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