Milaap's Champions: The Bake Collective

The Bake Collective is a group of amateur bakers, culinary dabblers and activists from Mumbai who have decided to combine their love for baking and their desire to help others lead a better lif. Each time they hold a bake sale, they pick a project on Milaap and lend the proceeds to a group of borrowers in need of, for example, water connections or vocational training.

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They held a bake sale, dubbed "The Big Phat Bake Sale" over this year's Easter weekend, and all proceeds from the sale went to helping women artisans set up small businesses via Milaap.org. They raised Rs 70,457.94, way past their target of Rs 50,000.

We thought it would be great to interview them to find out what drives them, and as a way of saying thank you! Here's Charlene and Kavita!

How did you get to hear about Milaap?

We had seen Milaap around on Facebook. One of the co-founders of Milaap is also a friend of Charlene's. I am also aware of the other micro-lending organisation, Kiva, to which a lot of my friends lend to. So, it was good to see a micro-lending organization based in India, where there is a need for so much minimal and basic intervention such as building toilets, education etc. 

Why do you lend on Milaap?

Charity, where one 'donates' to a cause, has become a bad word today due to the lack of transparency associated with it. Moreover, it is a top-down approach which is designed to make the recipient dependent on the handouts. This has no value and in our opinion, insults the intelligence of the recipient. Milaap, on the other hand, provides a  route to make people capable of changing their own lives and circumstances by themselves. It may not be perfect, but the idea of helping another person become independent and self-sufficient appeals to me.

Is there any particular sector on Milaap you regularly lend to? If yes, why?

We have so far lent to a wee lady, Mariyamma, so that she can start her own handicraft business. We decided to lend to her cause she was the oldest on the website with the least funds- so we felt that we should give her a push!! We have also lent to  two boys to assist them in getting vocational training. I was reading about how on certain micro-lending sites men have a lower rate of getting funds as compared to fair-skinned woman (http://www.good.is/post/micro-racism-if-you-want-a-kiva-loan-it-helps-to-be-pretty-and-light-skinned/). So, a decision was taken to avoid such a bias from us. There is no particular sector that we regularly lend to. If we raised all the money we wanted to, we would lend to them all. :)

Who/what inspired you guys to do what you do now?

Making the cakes, cupcakes, chocolates, cookies, fudges, brownies etc is a passion of ours. We constantly hear of bake sales happening out in America and how it used as a tool to raise funds. So, we just thought we would give it a shot and it worked pretty well for us!

If you were to change it, what would you do instead? Why?

There is really nothing to change but a lot of room to improve. We want to get bigger and better at this, and encourage a whole lot of people all over to have bake sales to help their local communities.

Any question for us? (It can be about anything, both related and unrelated to Milaap)

Q: Nope. Nothing really. Maybe one, any hot men out there??!! lol!! We would utilise their charms and good looks for purely good intentions, like The Bake Collective’s poster boys!!

A: We will turn this over to our fans. So, are there any of you willing to step up to the challenge? Feel free to go wild in the comments section! :D

Any thoughts or interesting thing you would like to share with us and our supporters?

We had a great team of people who helped us out. From getting us tables to set-up our stall, to baking, to selling door to door, at offices, to the ones who lent online, helped us clean up, to designing all our tags and posters, to the folks of Milaap who were great support and many many invisible people. We just want to say a big ‘thank you’.

So there you have it guys! If you want to hold a bake sale similar to the one The Bake Collective had, you can contact them for tips at thebakecollective@gmail.com and don't forget to visit their Facebook page!

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