Early into the pandemic, Lara Marie Go wrote an article published in a local newspaper titled “Pandemic Heroes” that highlighted ordinary people doing extraordinary things to help the community during quarantine. It motivated her to make a difference in our community.
She co-founded “Bake the World a Better Place” (IG: @baketheworld.ph) with her classmate at International School Manila, Kyler Sy, who shares her passion for cooking and baking. The project aimed to provide a sustainable secondary income stream to pandemic-displaced workers by giving them the skills, equipment, and capital needed to start their own home businesses.
They produced cooking and baking videos and uploaded them on Instagram, along with those from a community of volunteers. These formed the cornerstone of their project.
To raise funds last Christmas, they sold knitted parols made by the female Ifugao rice terraces farmers of Knitting Expedition, and Christmas baskets filled with delicious products from local food manufacturers whose businesses were affected by the pandemic. From the two sold-out fundraisers, Lara and Kyler raised enough funds to finance their project.
They partnered with the famous vlogger, chef Jackie Ang Po, to select 14 underprivileged home bakers from all over the Philippines to receive large ovens. Most of the recipients were using recycled tin cans with charcoal and pots on stoves as makeshift ovens to bake their products. They also provided a number of displaced workers seed money to start their own food businesses and presented others with banana bread-making kits to give them hands-on experience in making the product.
Today, all 14 home bakers have successfully scaled their businesses with the help of the ovens Bake the World a Better Place provided. One of the recipients, Ladylee Concillado, is a mother of two from Leyte. She has a small home-baking business and was using recycled a tin can with charcoal as a makeshift oven to bake cakes. Having an oven is a dream come true for her. She said, “I am very thankful for the oven Bake the World a Better Place has given me. It has been a big help for my business, especially now with a lot of orders coming in. It has made baking so much easier.”
Lara shared, “We are very happy to have been able to use our love for cooking and baking to make a difference in people’s lives by supplementing their livelihoods, enabling them to help support their families during the pandemic and beyond those difficult times. Moreover, we are grateful to everyone in our community who shared our vision and supported our project.”
May their story inspire other young people to believe that no initiative to bring about positive change in our community is too small to matter.