From Baking Club to Change Agency – “Bake For Change” Ladies Take On a Journey of Touching Lives

Bake For Change, a charity group started by four friends, Nkemdilim Uwaje, Ngozi Coker, Ashim Uwaje and Stefanie Moh,  who decided to turn their passion for baking into a change making agent, has made great strides in touching people’s lives positively with the several donations and projects the group has undertaken. With special attention to children and older people in government-funded homes for the less privileged and disabled, the group has reached hundreds of people with their message of love, a generous heart and warm smiles all the way.

Stephanie Moh, Ashim Uwaje, Nkemdilim Uwaje and Ngozi Coker

It’s always great to see young people giving back to their society, no matter how small. That is why at BellaNaija, we are so proud of the charity initiative, Bake For Change, which has consistently touched people’s lives positively in various ways since it started. The story behind the commitment of the young ladies who started the group goes a long way to show that great things can be achieved and people’s lives can be changed even with just a small dose of care and compassion.

Giving Back
Last Christmas was brought alive for lots of people in less privileged and special homes in Lagos as members and friends of the charity group, Bake For Change, visited some homes around the state to spread the Christmas cheer. Armed with lots of goodies and 600 gift packs on December 26, they visited the Special Correctional Center for Boys in Oregun where some boys from the Special Correctional Center for Older Boys, Isheri met up with them. From Oregun, the team headed down to Modupe Cole Memorial Child Care and Treatment Home School, Yaba, the Special Correctional Center for Girls, Idi-araba, and the Children Transit Home, also in Idi-araba.

Bake for Change Christmas Drive 2011

For most of the participants, totaling over 30, the visits were very emotional as they were brought in close contact with the difficulties that people face as a result of their physical challenges, financial problems and societal influences. The ‘2011 Xmas Drive’ was not the first Christmas project organized by the group. They made similar visits in December 2010 to Special Correctional Center for Boys, Oregun, Special Correctional Center for Girls, Idi-araba, The Children’s Transit Home, Idi-araba and Old People’s Home, Yabawhere they distributed 400 gifts to members of the homes and decided to do it again because of the huge impact it made.


Bake For Change is also responsible for refurbishing the kitchen and dining hall of the Special Correctional Center for Boys in Oregun, a project which gulped over N1,000,000. This cost excludes items like paint, gas cylinders, furniture which were product donations by companies and individuals. The labour costs were also discounted as some of the boys at the home took up some tasks themselves.

Kitchen Before Refurbishment

Kitchen After Refurbishment

Dining Hall Before Refurbishment

Dining Hall After Refurbishment

The group has also organized some spelling bee competitions, and donated over 2000 books to some of these homes in Lagos. More recently, they helped raise donations in cash and kind for the father of triplets who lost their mother a few days after their birth.

Book Donation

Recalling how the group started, Ngozi Coker said that it was formerly just a simple baking group where four friends who loved to bake got together to bake different items on weekends. “It came from an idea,” Ngozi said. “Kemdi threw a surprise party for Ash and I on the 19th of June, 2010 and she baked a cake. And I said to her that we should start a baking group where we’ll bake, each of us should host a baking session and after each session we would write out the recipe of what happened that session and collect it together and at the end of 12months, we would have a baking recipe book that we can sell and the proceeds will go to charity.” However, the idea grew bigger because they noticed that whenever they got together to bake, they had lots of left over and so decided to take them to charity homes along with other provisions every other month.

The first major project they undertook which was refurbishing the kitchen and dining hall of the Special Correctional Center for Boys, Oregun, came out of a desire to see the boys cook and eat in more decent condition. “It was nice that we were taking them treats, and taking things that people usually would not take, but we noticed that some of these places are really run down,” Ngozi said. “How do you call kids to come together to come and have cake when where they are sitting is really really run down. One of such example is the Special Correctional Center for boys in Oregun. When we went there, we felt really bad about how the dining room looked and said we had to do something about it. We saw the boys cooking on the firewood outside and we asked for their kitchen and they said they didn’t have a kitchen, that they cooked outside. That is how we started, and said we want to refurbish the dining room for the boys. We thought it would be a small project, we thought we would change the floors, change the furniture, change the fans. We didn’t realize how much it would all cost. At that time there were about 160 boys in the home. When we started doing it, we thought we might as well also put in a kitchen for them. So we put in a kitchen with industrial gas burners and also we were able to get a donation of one year gas supply for the home.

Cutting the tape at the handing over ceremony of the refurbished kitchen and dining hall

While she admitted that raising the funds for the project was more difficult than they thought because it was more expensive than they bargained for, she noted that lots of people who got to know about the group through their Facebook page and Blackberry made surprising donations which led to the completion of the project. The group’s activities, she said, has expanded tremendously with the help of donors, supporters and volunteers commissioning projects aimed at spreading love and improving the standards of the facilities that are dear to the group.who have given their time, money and resources to projects aimed at spreading love and improving the standard of facilities that are dear to them.

The group also intends to refurbish the kitchen at the Special Correctional Center For Girls , Idi-araba and put in industrial baking ovens to make baking an actual vocation for the girls as part of its projects this year.

Motivation 
Ngozi works as a Brand Manager for Procter and Gamble, Lagos has a Masters Degree in Marketing from the University of Saint Andrews, Scotland. For her, Bake For Change is not about the founders, but about the impact it can make on people’s lives and would be very happy to see other people replicating the idea by doing something that they love to do with their friends for charity. “Anybody who is able to replicate the bakefor change idea with anything that they do with their friends, that for me would be gratifying,” she said.

Ashim Uwaje works in Project Management (Finance) at Standard Chartered Bank, Lagos and studied International Business & Finance at Munich Business School, Germany. She says, “reaching out and giving back to the less privileged in our community is at all times inspirational. You meet these kids, teens and young adults that have gone through so much struggle, hardship and many times abuse in all forms, you hear their heart-breaking stories – and you realize they still smile.” Having completed a diploma degree in Child Care before studying Business, Ashim said “to really have an impact on someone else’s life, you must donate your time.”

Nkemdilim Uwaje who studied Bioinformatics IT at the Ludwig Maximilian University and Technical University, Munich, Germany and now works as the Consultant Managing Director of Future Software Resources Limited, Lagos said what drives her passion in the group is “the knowledge that even if you cannot do great things by yourself, you can do many little things with love and they touch people just as much as the great things. It’s the smiles, the laughs, the hugs and the “Thank you aunty” that I get from the kids we impact that gives me the highest level of fulfillment imaginable.”

Well done ladies!

For more information on how to donate to this group, visit their Facebook page – www.facebook.com/bakeforchange

56 Comments on From Baking Club to Change Agency – “Bake For Change” Ladies Take On a Journey of Touching Lives
  • @_Iyore January 30, 2012 at 9:56 am

    Big Thank you to the ladies!

  • lily January 30, 2012 at 10:10 am

    U guys are doing an awesome job.thank you for bringing hope to those less privelegded ones.may God Almighty continue to raise donors for your group!weldone gals!

  • Tee January 30, 2012 at 10:11 am

    Inspiring…..May God bless u ladies abundantly…….

  • kingsley January 30, 2012 at 10:55 am

    Good job, thank. The management of this home should try and maintain this refurbish area for it to last.

  • Ady January 30, 2012 at 11:15 am

    This is not a completely new idea. People here in the UK, have been doing it for Children too check out: http://www.freecakeswales.co.uk – and many more all over the UK – listen to the news of the lady trying to baking so may cakes to help victims of Cancer. I love the fact that it has now been brought to Nigeria to help countless children who need help too. Well done ladies.

    • Toju January 30, 2012 at 4:18 pm

      why can’t people just appreciate the good work others are doing? did they say it is a new idea? There is nothing new uncer the sun. These ladies are doing their share to better others lives. Appreciate them!!!!!

      • Ady January 30, 2012 at 6:19 pm

        I think I did! And I think I am entitled to my opinion. So even if I choose to say its not new, then its up to me. I did say, it was good to see them bring this to Nigeria. This more of an encouragement that you don’t need to have a new idea in order to help others. You can turn an already old idea to good use.

    • TJ February 4, 2012 at 7:18 pm

      And yet, here you are at your laptop instead of out there coming up with an entirely novel way to make the world better. Great people do. Small people talk…

  • cathy January 30, 2012 at 11:16 am

    i pray i affect peoples life more than this in the nearest future

  • Mena Oudha January 30, 2012 at 11:39 am

    Bravo..!! please keep it up.

  • Ester January 30, 2012 at 11:41 am

    waoooooo, ladies u did goo

    http://www.mrs-ca.blogspot.com

  • julie January 30, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    bless u all

  • kepo January 30, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    Good job ladies, i wish a lot more people, my humble self inclusive could go the extra mile to make the world a better place for the less previledged

  • lily January 30, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    great job guys…u guys r divinely blessed

  • Lue January 30, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    God bless you ladies
    http://lucianochinwe.blogspot.com/

  • onyx January 30, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    That’s absolutely great to see people choosing to give back in their own little, personal way… well done, babes.

    This may sound naive but I’m shocked by how young some of those boys in the correctional home are… and also really sad :-( I pray they get the opportunity they need to move on from a bad decision to better things…

  • adelegirl January 30, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    This is inspirational. It’s making me think very seriously about how to affect other peoples lives. I don’t quite know how I am going to go about it or even get the funds to do it as a salary earner but I shall do it. Life is so much more than the mundane every day things we worry about. It is my dream and my hope to positively affect other people’s lives. Well done ladies and God bless you.

  • Kemi January 30, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    Great job to the ladies and the other volunteers!!! You insipre me. It is always nice to see regular people helping out and giving back to the community.

  • Lily January 30, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    Good on you and God Bless you all ladies! Wish we’d all realise that there’s more to life than the red carpet events, soirees and largess which seem to be the order of the day in our society.

  • madman January 30, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    I got chills reading this. Awesome!

  • teMe January 30, 2012 at 11:55 pm

    God bless you guys BIG TIME!!!

  • Purpleicious Babe January 31, 2012 at 1:31 am

    Beautiful work ladies… Beautiful concept too.. It takes determination and courage to be part of a pioneering idea… Great calling too.

    I pray God will continue to expand your team and empower you all with beautiful ideas….

    well done.. The children will forever be grateful…

    http://lifeinstagesdoz.blogspot.com/

  • Purpleicious Babe January 31, 2012 at 1:32 am

    Not forgetting the awesome work the kitchen and dinning table experienced.. looks really good…

  • jay January 31, 2012 at 7:44 am

    This is nice. Great work, God bless them.

  • sensational January 31, 2012 at 10:08 am

    Great work ladies. God bless you.

  • Laide chic January 31, 2012 at 10:09 am

    I’m so impressed by their story. The transformations in the home was amazing. God bless you ladies

  • tommie January 31, 2012 at 10:10 am

    Inspiring…

  • sandra January 31, 2012 at 10:11 am

    Its lovely to see young ladies like this involved in charity. I’ve heard about them before and they are all exceptional ladies. Well done

  • BN Fan January 31, 2012 at 10:12 am

    Way to go Bake For Change! I love these inspiring stories i read on BN. That is what makes you guys stand out from everyother lifestyle or entertainment or fashion site/blog. Keep up the good work

  • Rave January 31, 2012 at 10:13 am

    Good work Bake For Change. Good work BellaNaija

  • Enforcer January 31, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    New or old it doesn’t matter, sorry to say but there are hardly any lives to really change in the UK….. All love and support is needed in Nigeria cause the government is not set out to improve standards of living, let alone introduce proper social welfare. You guys keep up the good work, God sees it and I know he appreciates all the hard work you lot put in…. Nigeria stand up, talk is still cheap on the market, less words more action… Take dressing from BFC.. BN good job carrying this article.

    • Tania February 1, 2012 at 1:18 pm

      I think you are wrong. People everywhere need help. Some more than others. The point is, whatever we find our hands to do, lets do it well. The ladies are doing and have done a great job in Lagos, but I’m sure there are other areas that need these kind of initiatives. Lets all pull together and see where we can help others less priveledged than us, even if they are in the UK, US.. where there is a need, lets open our eyes and do all we can. You just never know. God bless you all.

  • Dani January 31, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    I’m truly touched by your selfless service ladies. Well done

  • Nengi January 31, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Beautiful! Keep up the good work

  • fokasibe January 31, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    Awww how nice….brought tears to my eyes…

  • Ndidi January 31, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    Sweet idea, sweet results, sweet ladies. This story brought a smile to my face.

  • Myne Whitman January 31, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    Well done Ladies and keep baking for change!

  • signature February 1, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    This is so inspiring, May God bless each and every one that participated in this cause
    its so nice to know that there are still people like this we can look up to and take a queue from…okee, lemme stop before i cry.

  • easy February 1, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    Danke schon Ladies. weiter so. jetzt geht Los.

  • easy February 1, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    Thank u Ladies. more of that, keep it up.

  • Ify February 2, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    great job, very inspiring

  • Nino February 3, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    Although I’m touched by the very kind gesture of these ladies,I’m even more amazed at the proactive way they chose to positively engage their minds–baking classes on the weekends and putting together the recipes to eventually put together a book! Myself and my friends would have gisting sessions for hours on end in Uni,talking abt boys,who did what, fashion and all manner of stuff,which aren’t altogether terrible things to do but then 5 years down the line I ask myself—Was there really any value added? Oh well! Kudos to these ladies. You have indeed enriched the lives of those boys. This should also serve as food for thought for my fellow BellaNaija peeps, you too can make a change, no matter how small!

  • Nnenna February 3, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    Awww…NG congrats!! Always wonderful to see young women getting involved and giving back to their community… Welldone

  • Dami O February 3, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    This is a wonderful initiative by lovely young women! I am so impressed by their dedication and wish them all the best in their future endeavors. God Bless.

  • mobi February 3, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    great idea

  • patience February 5, 2012 at 1:33 am

    Kind gesture,God bless u guys for love,time and efforts

  • Asakeismyname February 6, 2012 at 9:59 am

    Great work guys! God will reward you abundantly for your labour of selfless love.

  • titolicious February 7, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    May God reward your labour of love.

  • ada February 8, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    These are the real role models.These are the kind of ladies we should promote. Keep it up ladies, dont give up. God is smiling down on you and will reward u and many generations of yours to come.

  • queen February 9, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    God bless u ladies.i appreciate u being genuine.May this be an eye-opener to all those who r running ngos for their own self-service especially in Abuja.Again God bless U ladies.I would also like to be a donor in your foundation.

  • afrochic February 10, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    Truly inspirational.a marked difference 4rm d usual fare dished out by bellanaija.more of this pls!I’m challenged 2 get off my butt & make a difference.may God bless u ladies.

  • Lagosmums February 12, 2012 at 12:21 am

    this is such a great thing! Good job ladies

  • Ruth February 15, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    May GOD bless u guys for me oh

  • m2 February 15, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    God will continue to lift them higher.

  • VictorDiali February 26, 2012 at 5:34 am

    I am so proud, especially that these young “well-to-do” ladies from “well-to-do” families decided to do something o make a difference in the lives on not so “well-to-do” children. God bless you for being the change and inspiring others. I met Ashim on a flight some years ago when she was on her back to Nigeria after her schooling abroad, and I knew this was not just an ordinary NAIJA girl. Well done ladies and keep up the good work.

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