This bakery is changing the way refugees earn their bread and butter

This bakery is changing the way refugees earn their bread and butter

Patil fled war-torn Syria and found refuge with the Bread and Butter Project in Australia.

Beautiful News - Refugee project
Supplied, Beautiful News

Patil Aghazarian disappears from the kitchen behind a poof of white dust. While the flour settles, she carves out the loaves and places them into the oven. As each edible pillow transforms, so does Aghazarian’s life. When she fled war-torn Syria for Australia with her family, she was optimistic and ready to start afresh. But the language barrier and her lack of job experience presented an obstacle to starting a career and earning an income. The moment she stepped inside a bakery in Sydney, however, her world began to take shape.

Founded in 2013, The Bread & Butter Project seeks to upskill and integrate refugees and asylum seekers in Australia. By providing people with training and employment, they have a better chance at resettling. Since Aghazarian arrived, she has worked her way to a full-time position. Baking alongside her are people from Fiji, Myanmar, Iraq, and Sierra Leone. Here, they have found a place of understanding and mutual purpose – making bread to empower themselves and others. “Working here is amazing,” Aghazarian says. “We are a big family.” 

All of the profits from the organisation go towards an education programme for new arrivals. Besides the skills to make buns and brioches, they are offered language tuition and can work towards gaining an accreditation in hospitality. After completing the course, employees go on to improve their skills, find other jobs, or develop their own careers. “The project gives refugees opportunities in life,” Aghazarian says. With a solid yet doughy foundation, people here gain the power to rise.

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