In addition to being a steadfast and generous Haven supporter in many ways, Jeffrey Hamelman is the author of BREAD: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes and a recipient of the Bread Baker’s Guild Golden Baguette Award. He’s one of a limited number of Certified Master Bakers in the United States and a past captain of Baking Team USA. He was an employee owner at King Arthur flour for 17 years, opening and directing the King Arthur Flour Bakery, and developing and teaching the professional classes for the Baking School. He now shares his knowledge and decades-long commitment to baking by teaching students around the world.
Jeffrey wrote the following description of his work:
“I’ve had the good fortune of working twice as a volunteer in Uganda, first in October 2021 and again in March of this year. The purpose was to train about 20 members of the Oruchinga Refugee Settlement to become bakers. These people have next to nothing, except their hopes and their undiminished innate dignity, and they all have escaped unspeakable horrors in their native countries. The trainees began with absolutely no baking experience. Seeing their daily skills progress was an immense joy, and when they sold the first breads, on the ninth day of training, it was a time of rejoicing.
The genesis for creating this bakery came from Ayelet Berman-Cohen of Los Angeles, who established the Adamâ Foundation to fund it. On the ground in Uganda are two exceptional women who are part of the daily operation: Angella Kushemererwa and Sophie Karungi. All three of these women are absolute pillars of strength and commitment.
The goals of the bakery are clear: to empower people, mostly women, with skills that will enable them to earn a livelihood; to become a focal point for the community; and to feed the most vulnerable refugees—the children. The importance and impact of the bakers’ work can’t be understated—hunger, poverty, and malnutrition pervade all the communities in Oruchinga—Rwandan, Congolese, and Burundi. The refugees receive $3.74 per month from the UN for food, and this barely makes a dent in the nutritional needs of the people. The tens of thousands of little buns that are given out to the children bring incomparable joy, even if only a brief cessation to the pounding emptiness of their bellies.