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Maribel’s bakery

Through small, sustainable enterprises, the Honduran Red Cross helps families in the department of Santa Barbara to reduce risks of disasters and adapt to climate change.

Walking through the streets of the Hundiciones community in Colinas, Honduras is a treat for the senses. There is no one who can resist the smell of freshly baked bread. Maribel Sagastume’s bakery is already famous in the community and has become a go-to place for everybody, not only for the rich aroma of her creations, but also for the variety of bake-goods she offers her clientele.

Maribel’s business was born as part of the Climate Risk Reduction and Adaptation Project, an initiative of the Honduran Red Cross that helps more than 75,000 families in the department of Santa Barbara who face constant risks from disasters such as floods and landslides that can wipe out entire crops and livelihoods.

The initiative, which also gets support from the Italian Red Cross, seeks to improve land use capacity for cultivation, consolidate community structures for disaster prevention and to make the response more effective. It also aims to strengthen the community volunteer network in risk management and health. Through ten years of implementation, the project has helped empower communities, municipalities and educational centres to learn how to respond more effectively to emergencies and disasters.

A family entrepreneurship

Maribel’s bakery is a perfect example. Through baking and pastry workshops, Maribel learned the techniques and skills needed to start her own business.

“The Red Cross came here with different projects and among them they brought baking courses,” says Maribel. “I learned everything. Everything they taught us, I learned.”

Cakes, pizzas, banana bread, quequitos (better known as cupcakes), carrot bread and quesadillas — just a few of the things that can be found at Maribel’s bakery.

To set up her business and produce bread on a large scale, Maribel needed the right equipment. For this, the Red Cross provided her with everything she needed, including the oven, baking utensils and other kitchen accessories. This helped her to increase their production and sell to many more families, not only in the Hundiciones community, but even in Tegucigalpa, the country’s capital.

“We already have a lot of customers who come to buy our bread. We also send bread by car to some cafeterias in San Pedro Sula,” says Maribel with a smile on her face. In a normal day, Maribel can bake between 150 and 300 pieces of her delicious bread.

This bakery is a family business. Alexander Tejada, Maribel’s husband, is also involved in the business, helping her to take the bread out of the oven and prepare it for sale. “She has taught me the whole process she learned in the workshops,” Alexander says.

The bakery has allowed Maribel’s family to improve their situation and secure a stable source of income. Together they have achieved financial stability and that has allowed them to send their son to school, one of Maribel’s main motivations for starting this business.


This story was produced by Cristhel Maria Madrid Serrano,
a talented storyteller from Honduran Red Cross.


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