Baking herself a new life

Abuse survivor builds successful business, wants to help others

JOHOR BARU: Home baker Mariam (not her real name) used to suffer from low self-confidence and dreaded meeting other people because of her past.

After years of being a victim of domestic violence, the 45-year-old woman found the right help and managed to free herself from her unhappy marriage.

“I remember being in a state of constant fear and unhappiness because of what was going on at home.

“It was not easy to get out of that situation because our whole family depended on my ex-husband financially.

“I was at a very low point in my life as I thought that I had nowhere to turn to – until I met someone who introduced me to the non-governmental organisation, the Johor Women’s League,” she said in an interview.

Mariam said the group helped her through her tough situation, including going to court, until she eventually got out of her situation after years of struggle.

“It has been 10 years since the ordeal and to start my new journey in life, I took baking courses to realise my dream of being a baker.

“I eventually started my own business in 2014 and have also taken other courses to upgrade my skills to take care of my four children.

“I am happy to be able to stand on my own two feet and care for my family by doing what I enjoy,” said Mariam, who sells buns and bread as well as frozen food such as curry puffs.

She said she feels great satisfaction whenever her products are well received by customers.

“I recently produced about 500 pieces of buns with various fillings for an event to raise awareness about violence and sexual abuse against children.

“It was tiring but it gave me a huge sense of accomplishment when I completed the order,” she added.

Mariam said a few years ago, she was given the opportunity to rent a small shop through a state government agency but business was not good due to the low foot traffic in the area.

“Despite that, I am reluctant to let go of that store because I feel I would have taken a huge step backwards in my journey.

“Besides selling my items at events and fairs, I am also working hard on fulfilling orders I receive online and through word of mouth to keep the store running monthly,” said Mariam, who hopes to find space for a kiosk at a more suitable location soon.

Not only is she selling her own products, Mariam is also helping to promote cookies and cakes made by other single mothers.

“I fully understand what it is like to be in that situation and what they are going through,” she added.

Mariam hopes to one day play a more active part in engaging with other domestic violence victims.

“Although I do not want to remember that dark part of my life, I admit that it has made me stronger and who I am today.

“It was a traumatising and trying time for my children but I want to assure other domestic violence victims that we can get out of it with the right help and if we are willing to help ourselves.”

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Domestic Violence , Baker , Home Business


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