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A bakery in the Venezuelan plains


Inclusion | Venezuela | PUBLISHED ON February 22nd 2024
Tatiana holds a tray covered with small balls of dough in front of the open door of a large oven. She smiles at the camera.

Tatiana Murcia putting bread rolls into her new oven. | © M. Campos / HI

Tatiana runs a bakery with her family in Venezuela. With the help of HI funded by CDCS she has received a new gas oven, a revolution for a business that contributes to the life of an entire community.

Erika Tatiana Murcia, 33, lives in the state of Apure, in central-eastern Venezuela, where her family found refuge seventeen years ago after fleeing Colombia. Together, they run a bakery to earn their living. With the help of HI, and the economic contribution from CDCS, they have received a new bread oven to boost their business and meet the community's demand.

Finding their feet in a new country

"My family comes from a town in the department of Tolima, in Colombia, where my father was mayor. He was the victim of false accusations and his opponents demanded his resignation. He refused, and we had to leave our homeland to seek asylum in Venezuela. This country has given us a lot," says Tatiana.

When they arrived, the young woman's parents began selling trinkets made by her mother, such as key rings, little dolls and earrings. But her father sought an economic opportunity that would ensure them a steady income.

"When we arrived in this area, my father saw that there was nowhere to sit down, have a drink and buy bread. That's how the bakery came about. My father already knew the trade – it had been passed on to him by his parents. The first loaves we baked sold very quickly."

A business that serves an entire community

Tatiana proudly shows the bread baked in her oven. © M. Campos / HIAfter nearly sixteen years of loyal service to the family and the community, the bakery's oven had started to show signs of fatigue. It was no longer heating up properly and customers were complaining that the bread was only half-cooked. The family's business was at risk.

But HI works in the region to promote peace and to support the economic development and social cohesion of the communities in Apure. The programme supports projects run by local people to strengthen their resilience and develop community initiatives. With the help of HI, Tatiana's family has received a new oven, improving the quality and production of their bread.

"The bread comes out golden and the new oven is helping us to increase production. We used to bake around fifteen loaves a day, but now we bake twenty-four. There are six of us living here, and two other people work with us. Thanks to this bakery, we're able to provide for our family," says Tatiana happily.

HI’s aid has improved the family's economic stability, but it is also helping to strengthen the resilience of the whole community, as Deisy Monguí, community promoter from HI’s partner organization REPAS, explains:

"In this family, everyone helps out: kneading the bread, selling it, serving customers or managing the supplies... Working together like this unites them and helps the bakery prosper. When we discovered this place, we immediately realised that it would bring well-being to the whole community. By helping them, we hope to support not just one family, but the whole community.”

The project entitled "Prevention and protection against the threat of armed violence by strengthening community resilience in Alto Apure, Venezuela" was implemented by HI with two partners, Repas and Tinta Violeta. It aimed to promote peace and mitigate the impact of conflict by strengthening resilience mechanisms, conflict management and social cohesion using an inclusive approach. The project is funded by the Crisis and Support Centre (CDCS) of the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs (MEAE).

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