Sweet treat: Thailand’s Freedom Bakery nominated for award
A nomination for an award has highlighted the incredible impact Thailand’s Freedom Bakery in Bangkok has had on the city. More importantly, it recognised the contributions of the brave women who chose to leave the sex trade to create better lives through baking.
Looks of shock and cheers of excitement filled the room as BMS World Mission worker Sarah Brown shared a sweet surprise with the women who work at Thailand’s Freedom Bakery: they were nominated for an award by Entrepeneur Now Asia. What did this nomination mean for the bakery?
The nomination meant many encouraged women and one proud teacher. It lifted spirits as the women felt recognised for their baking craft and not the lives of abuse that they left behind.
As part of the nomination, Thailand Freedom Bakery was invited to a night to honour difference-makers.
The Entrepeneur Now Asia awards were held on Tuesday 17 November 2015 and recognised organisations that give back to their communities in Thailand.
Awards were given out in 11 categories and judged on a variety of criteria, including uniqueness, potential growth and value to Thailand’s economy. More than 100 companies received award nominations and, impressively Thailand Freedom Bakery was named in the top 22.
At the heart of what Thailand Freedom Bakery does it is making a difference in the lives of women who have been trapped in prostitution.
The programme takes in women who come from hopeless situations in the sex trade and shows them that God wants so much more for their lives.
The bakery restores dignity and freedom by offering so much more than creating cakes. Women are given counselling opportunities, introduced to faith in Jesus and taught life skills to help them heal and build a better future.
Although Thailand Freedom Bakery did not win an award, the nomination itself was a great encouragement. “They saw potential in us even though we are still in this very early stage of being a programme,” says Sarah, “It’s quite remarkable.”
Sarah’s contribution has been huge, but this award was not about her. She was adamant that three of the women from the bakery join her at the awards night.
“It’s never been about me,” says Sarah, “They were really encouraged because they were viewed for their abilities and not the background they came from.”
Leaders in the kitchen
Team members at the bakery have come a long way with their skills and the future looks promising.
Sarah (pictured, right) has seen so many women come in looking lost and afraid, only to transform into confident leaders in the kitchen.
Recently they created a complicated wedding cake, and Sarah realised just how independent they have become.
“They basically said: ‘we would be happy for you to be in the room, but we’ve got this under control’,” says Sarah, “I felt redundant, but it was a good redundant.”
Sarah had no professional training as a cake-decorator, yet she became a teacher at Thailand Freedom Bakery.
She knew God had given her creative gifts and trusted he would find a way to use them. “When you have been given a gift or skill, you’re not supposed to keep it, God wants us to pass it on,” says Sarah.
And pass it on she did, and continues to do so today. So maybe the lesson here is to use your God-given gifts. We all have the power to be difference-makers.
Find a way to use your gifts, and in turn you might find life to be quite sweet.
You can make a difference too by supporting the BMS World Mission Dignity initiative, which aims to combat gender based violence all over the world.
This article first appeared on the website of BMS World Mission and is used with permission.