At the Bench

A Look Behind the Loaf Series

“A Look Behind the Loaf” is an inclusive blog series designed to highlight and elevate the unique voices, stories and experiences of underrepresented professionals across the artisan baking community. If you’d like to suggest someone to feature in the future please reach out to




"Adama" means earth in Hebrew


My name is Angella. I have over 16 years work experience in working with refugees especially working with UNHCR agencies. Where I did alot of rescue missions at the UN transit and reception centres where refugees first arrive seeking asylum. I have headed the base camps where I was incharge of non food items, WASH (water sanitation and hygiene) in the settlement. The projects also offered psychosocial support for trauma healing and rehabilitation. I originally have a financial management background from my education and also did a masters in project planning and management that took me to lead teams of staff in copies like Relief International, American Refugees Committee, Feed the Children to name but a few. I have worked in those agencies as Emergency Coordinator, Program Manager, Area Coordinator and Project Manager.

I and a team of ladies that have worked in refugees work realised that there is a gap that the big agencies are not handling that is key to the life of the refugees in the camps and even afterwards. This was livelihoods and skills empowerment. We realised that the refugee youth were ideal with no skills and many times their school life stops the moment they run for asylum. Many are not educated or semi-illiterate. Due to that, thousands of them just sit around the camp, engage in drugs and ended up commenting crime, for the young girls they get pregnant at an early age and lots of challenges there after. With that background we founded a local NGO that is aimed at teaching skills to the refugees and some hosts community youth with market driven skills that will improve their livelihoods, provide empowerment to a few and also offering startup kits for some. The NGO is called Vibrant Communities Initiative (VCI), where I am now working as the Executive Director. I am supported with a team a professionals among those is SOPHIE, Eng, Arnold Assimwe and Odeth Kakare.

My name is Sophie Nakayiza, Ugandan by nationality. I have over 6 years of working with refugees. I am a couselor by profession. I studied counselling psychology and I specialised in trauma rehabilitation, I manage mental health and psychosocial services for the refugees. Many of them hold wounds from their past tragedies. Many of them did not only lose everything they had but their entire families who died in cold blood from gun shots. I am blessed to be part of their healing journey. They had lost hope in life and it is amazing hearing their stories of emotional recovery from the counseling sessions that I conduct with them. In my sessions I notice that many of them can not afford daily meals in addition to the portions they recieve from the World Food Program. It is such a blessing to be part of the amazing group that trains the women and the youth with baking skills and so far many children are fed with bread and buns, hoping to feed even more.



Try This at Home Series

Launched at a time when so many in our industry are experiencing varying degrees of uncharted waters, the "Try This at Home Series", is a means of helping to keep bakers baking, even if that means baking at home. Continue reading for more on those stories. And if the world has allowed you extra time at this moment, we encourage you to dig in, keep busy learning new techniques, testing formulas, or safely networking with fellow artisan bakers. Our best to each and every one of you as we all learn to navigate these current realities.

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A Look Behind the Loaf:

Joe Bowie - 9.25.20

Shala Irby - 10.16.20

Maham R. Qureshi - 1.22.21

En-Ming Hsu - 3.19.21

Third Culture - 4.09.21

Masa Madre - 5.21.21

Bread Justice - 6.04.21


Try This at Home:

Pain de Monium - 4.3.20

Hot Cross Buns - 4.7.20

Two Multigrains - 4.14.20

Spicy Brioche - 4.17.20

Southern Accent - 4.21.20

Certified/Certifiable - 4.24.20

Challah & Polenta - 4.28.20

Baking Ambassador - 5.1.20

Two Scones - 5.5.20

Craig Ponsford - 5.8.20

Schlepping for Bagels - 5.12.20

Puff Pastry - 5.19.20

Indisputable Bread - 5.22.20

Cinnamon Rolls - 5.26.20

Toscano Bread - 5.29.20

That's Amore! - 5.9.20