Cakes and scones for a better life 

Kamal fled Sudan for Kenya in 2016 due to political unrest. Since then, the 32-year-old has been living in the Kakuma refugee camp. He learned about the Skills for Life project through a sensitisation campaign and settled on baking as his trade of choice since he wanted to have a marketable skill when he returned to his homeland. In South Sudan, there aren’t many bakeries nor a wide variety to select from. Sudanese bread is the most common.” The Skills for Life project trained Kamal and 12 other group members for three months. They learnt how to bake a wide range of products, including different types of cakes, tea scones, and Congolese mandazi (fried bread).

“After the training, the process of starting my business was challenging but exciting. I had to allocate the capital I had been saving wisely. I chose to construct a kitchen at the back of my house rather than rent out a shop in town. As I could not afford brand new baking items, I hired a local craftsman to custom make my baking trays, cutters, and clay kiln,” Kamal remembers.

In February 2019 Kamal started his bakery business and soon recognised a market niche. “My competitors only supplied baked goods to the different Kakuma camps, excluding Kalobeyei Integrated Settlement which accommodates both the host community and refugees. I marketed myself within the settlement, and today, I supply about seven buckets of baked varieties a day. My best-seller is the queen cake followed by tea scones. With demand and production steadily increasing, I hired a helper.”

Each bucket retails at CHF 10, leaving Kamal’s net profit a week at CHF 25. Kamal begins baking every evening from 7 p.m. throughout the night. After supplying to his wholesale clients in the wee hours of the morning, he retires to bed for a few hours before resuming baking again.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has not directly impacted my business. People still buy cakes and scones. I hope to eventually complete my primary education, enrol into secondary and eventually college. I also hope to save enough money to invest in a charcoal oven.”

Baking tea scones the Kakuma way

Ingredients for approximately 30 scones:

  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 cup of cooking oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 kg flour
  • 5 tsp baking powder
  • 4 tbsp of powdered milk or 1 packet of liquid milk
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Instructions

- Preheat the oven.
- Mix the cooking oil with the sugar.
- Add the eggs to the mixture.
- Add vanilla extract and mix well.
- Pour in the flour, baking powder and the powdered milk.
- Knead the mixture well with clean hands.
- Divide the dough into quarters, then roll it out.
- Use a cutter to shape the tea scones.
- Place the cut pieces onto a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes in a clay kiln.
- Serve the scones with a hot beverage of your choice.
Lucy sews her way to independence
Lucy Amanikor grew up in Kakuma. She quit school early. Her parents could not pay the school fees, so she sold baked goods on the streets of Kakuma. One day she heard about the Skills for Life project. She received coaching and professional guidance, and after some time she decided to become a seamstress. She completed training from November 2016 to April 2017. She was optimistic and believed in herself. “I knew that if I give my best I will be successful. I love everything about tailoring. It gives me secure income and I always have enough work. I sew both women’s and men’s clothing, and I also make repairs.”