Al-Fidaa Baking Classes for the Underprivileged

As generous as sponsorships and donations are, providing a more permanent solution to poverty and unemployment is an ideal goal. The Al Fidaa Foundation in Port Elizabeth has been carrying out various forms of charity work since its inception in 2008. They have now expanded their charitable résumé by opening a baking school.

Students at the Al Fidaa School of Baking

Avid sweet-lovers and budding pastry chefs from disadvantaged backgrounds can now live out their candy-coated dreams by enrolling in one of Al-Fidaa’s 4-week baking classes. The pioneering idea behind these classes is to train underprivileged and unemployed female candidates in the art of patisserie, and provide them with expert baking and decorating skills. Up to six students can enrol for each course which runs every 4 weeks, from Mondays to Thursdays.

Beautifully decorated cake by one of the students

Clare Russell, a graduate of Capsicum Culinary Studio, has been enlisted to tutor the students in her field of specialisation. Students are taught how to make decadent treats such as cakes, cupcakes and biscuits for sale. This enterprising project empowers and allows these women to take their newly-acquired skills home and use it to become self-employed. ‘Baking for business’ doesn’t require any formal education and with a little ambition, hard work and a lot of frosting, these graduates can achieve a sustainable income which will enable them to support their families.

The students also learn how to make delicious biscuits

The entire baking course is free, with ingredients and equipment sponsored by benevolent members of Port Elizabeth’s society. The community is also encouraged to donate any unwanted baking apparatus and appliances, ingredients and recipe books to students who have completed the course, as this will help them in setting up a home industry. The cherry on the top of this project is that all goods baked by the students (during their course) are donated to old age homes and orphanages around PE. It truly is a sweet orbit of events.

Enticing cupcakes made by the students

Al-Fidaa Foundation, managed by Moulana Nazir Munshie, also runs 45 soup kitchens and several hospital feeding schemes in Port Elizabeth, among many other charitable endeavours. They hope that these baking classes will inspire more people around the country to start their own skill-development workshops to aid the impoverished.

For more information on Al-Fidaa School of Baking, contact Clare Russell on 041 484 1288 or email

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