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BREAD IN THE BONES

What else is the common and familiar and at the same time – utterly unknowable?!? Only bread and people … ”

Bread is central to the story of human civilization—it is in our bones. This humble food made of flour, water, salt and yeast not only provides nourishment for the body, it also feeds our collective desire for a connection to culture and community. Bread is the focus of the Canadian film “Bread in the Bones” which tells complex stories of love and loss, work and pleasure, poetry and politics, art and immigration. Bread in the Bones takes us on an exploratory journey – from Coney Island and rural Vermont to France, Germany, Bulgaria and beyond – to discover stories where bread is always at the centre.

The film is part of the Master of Arts Film Festival, dedicated to documentary film for art, within the CULINARY ART category. The film has been selected in the program for the online edition of the festival and you will be able to watch it until February 27 on the video content platform neterra.tv + https://neterra.tv/festival/master-of-art

HERE you can find the trailer of the movie! Enjoy J

Meet Noah Reibel – our American volunteer with a mission

Today we will meet you with Noah Reibel, our 2019 volunteer who came to Bulgaria from the US to volunteer and get to know more about the Bread Houses Network. He spent around 3 weeks with us at the Sofia Bread House and got involved in a wide range of activities, supporting us with the creation of photo and video materials as well as valuable help during the bread making events. Just before the world’s pandemic, Noah was planning on how to start a bread making program in the Syrian refugee camp in Ketermaya, Lebanon.

Please present yourself:

Noah Reibel, age 50, bookseller and journalist from New York

 

  • How did you find out about the Bread Houses Network and what attracted you to the cause?

I discovered Bread Houses Network on the Internet. I was looking for non-profits that have experience working with refugees and that somehow incorporate baking and breadmaking into their social mission.

  • In what activities were you involved during your stay with the Sofia Bread House?

I took photos of Bread Therapy sessions for adults with developmental disabilities such as Down’s syndrome. I accompanied Nadia and her team to the children’s ward of a hospital for breadmaking and bread music (!!!) with the kids and their families. We did a session with refugees from Syria and Afghanistan at the Bread House. There were team building sessions for colleagues who work for an automobile company, and Americans who were in Sofia on Fulbright fellowships.

  • What was the most surprising aspect of the Bread Therapy activities in which you participated?

Drawing with the flour as a vehicle to get people to open up about themselves, discuss their lives, their goals and get to know one another. It’s so interesting and usually it works!

  • Is there a particular moment or memory from the bread making events that stands out for you?

There was a father at the children’s hospital who had his daughter on his lap and he was helping her knead dough. I’m not sure what she was suffering from, but her muscles were atrophied and she wasn’t able to move easily. Watching him gently help her roll out and shape the dough was very powerful. I won’t forget that.

That afternoon was special. The children were shy and reserved and we were a little late getting set up. The music and the songs were funny and helped lift everyone’s spirit. There was another little girl there who was being treated for epilepsy. She was adorable and she was having so much fun.

It was a privilege to be there for that!!!

  • Is there something that you have learned about yourself and those surrounding you thanks to the events in the Sofia Bread House?

That’s a tricky one. It made me think about how much we need one another. I know that is a bit of a cliché’ or an overused aphorism. We all get lost sometimes in our daily struggles and problems, work, having to pay the bills, etc… but we mustn’t lose sight of the inherent value of every one of us. We can accomplish so much when we help one another and work together.

  • What are your plans for the future?

Well, I would like to return to Lebanon. I found Bread Houses Network because I visited a Syrian refugee camp outside of a village there called Ketermaya. It’s in the Chouf region about an hour’s drive south of Beirut. The people living there are mostly women and children from a suburb of Damascus that was bombed and destroyed by the regime during the civil war.

They’ve been living there for nine, ten years now. There are babies born there who have never seen Syria or experienced life outside of a refugee camp. It’s an informal camp – it doesn’t receive much support from the UNHCR or other international agencies. I’ve been there twice with a friend who runs a small charity called HelpSyriasKids that tries to raise awareness and some money to provide some support. It’s a wonderful charity but it is small – a drop in the bucket, really.

I was trying to think of something that the families there could really use. I thought of trying to purchase a commercial oven for the camp – so they can bake for themselves or maybe bake for sale. I also thought beekeeping might work there. The honey from Lebanon was the best honey I’ve ever tasted and there is a lot of api-culture in the Chouf.

I’m not sure. I’d love to find partners on the ground in Lebanon for this, but the country is going through a very rough time and it’s difficult to travel anywhere right now because of the pandemic. We’ll see… I’m still hopeful.

  • What would you wish to the supporters of the Bread Houses Network?

I’d like them to know that BHN is about so much more than baking bread. The BHN team is really terrific and there’s a lot of thought and care that goes into everything they do – planning and preparing for the groups, working with different organizations, keeping up with community breadmakers around the world. It’s a lot of work and everyone there is really dedicated to the BHN mission to build bridges and nourish a sense of community.

Bread in Silence Program – Meet Blagovest Zahov

Last year for the first time the Sofia Bread House and the National Association of Sign Language Interpreters implemented a Bread in Silence event together! We are happy to meet you with one of the team members of the association who shares more about the effects of Bread Therapy and the organization itself.

  • Please present yourself.

My name is Blagovest and I am part of the team of the National Association of Sign Language Interpreters in Bulgaria (NASLIB).

  • What attracted you to the cause of the Bread Houses Network?

The opportunity through social entrepreneurship to change for the better the lives of someone, both individuals in particular and entire communities. The effect of uniting and creating emotional connections between people in the process of seemingly ordinary bread making is truly unique. It is the emotional connection and trust between people that is something that modern people increasingly need, especially in the so-called ‘developed societies’. Last but not least, my interest is due to the important fact that the idea has a Bulgarian origin represented by Dr. Nadezhda Savova-Grigorova.

  • Tell us more about what connected you to the Bread Houses Network and which are your common initiatives?

Our first contact with the Bread Houses Network was in 2019, when we needed donor support to organize the first international training of sign language interpreters in Bulgaria, conducted by EFSLI – the European Forum of Sign Language Interpreters. The Bread Houses Network then supported us unreservedly, which we still remember with gratitude. This was the beginning of our cooperation. Shortly afterwards, we again received valuable support for the implementation of another project – “Show me music”, aimed at gesture interpretation during music events, so that the beauty and emotion of the art of music reaches people with hearing impairments.

In February last year we had the opportunity to hold our first joint event – “Bread in Silence”. Hearing impaired people kneaded beautiful bread stories, while in their interpretation and communication with the wonderful hosts and facilitators of the Sofia Bread House they were helped by novice sign language interpreters. I dare say that we have managed to achieve something wonderful for both hearing impaired people and young interpreters.

What is common between NASLIB and the Bread Houses Network? – Perhaps our common desire to be useful and help the people around us. I sincerely hope that our successful cooperation will continue in the future.

  • What were the reactions of the participants in the bread making?

Oh, their reactions are hard to describe. I would say – a bouquet of positive emotions! There was also an initial shyness, followed by trust and sincerity. There were smiles, there were funny moments. There was warmth. The group of participants was diverse, but it was as if everyone participated with their heart!

  • What impressed you the most in the bread therapy method?

What impressed me the most is the fact that through Bread Therapy you can both detach a person from his/her inner world, but also help him/her look at it from a different perspective. For some people, this can mean a lot – to have an occasion for reconsidering and reflecting on how to proceed.

  • Is there a specific memory from the bread making event that you would like to share with us?

Yes, not only one. The getting to know ourselves at the beginning by describing ourselves through our names and thus presenting some of our qualities was very meaningful. Bread making in pairs, where everyone complemented the person next to them. A pinch of salt, which gives flavor. Not only to bread, but to life as well.

What would you like to wish all those who support the initiatives of the Bread Houses Network?

Bread is a wonderful metaphor for human life. From the small seed, through the wheat, to the toasted slice that we put on the table. Even the crumbs that remain at the end. There is a lot of “bread for change” in the world around us. There is “bread for change” in ourselves. Somewhere there is not enough flour and you have to add. Elsewhere, artificial enhancers are in abundance. But if you take them away, you will not cause any harm – you will only help bread come closer to the initial true version. Everyone’s life is different – with different needs and different opportunities. But I would like everyone to strive and contribute to this change – within ourselves and in the environment around us. This is the only way we would help each other. We need that.

A new short Bread Therapy course available on Teachable

A hobby baker or a social worker? An art therapist or a person devoted to supporting the local community? A social entrepreneur or someone looking for the perfect present for a special person?

If you recognize yourself in the above sentences, then our “Introduction to Bread Therapy” is just for you! Now available on Teachable!

Immerse yourself in the world of bread therapy through our newest course which will lead your way through the basics of bread making as a simple High-Touch solution in a world of complex problems. You will get to know the main methods and programs we use with people with special needs, visually impaired, refugees, people at risk and homeless people. Bread making as bringing people from diverse backgrounds to make, bake and break bread together. The course is suitable for everyone and doesn’t require any special skills.

The short course is divided in 5 sections containing interactive video materials, pictures and additional case studies. Here is a summary of the course curriculum:

  • Introduction
  • Importance of Bread Therapy and some backgrounds
  • Why does the world need Bread Therapy?
  • How did it all start?
  • The Innovation of Theater of Crumbs as Bread Therapy
  • What is Bread Therapy?
  • Theater of Crumbs and Kitchen Music
  • Bread Therapy Case Studies
  • Bread Therapy Programs Application
  • Bread Therapy Programs
  • Social Entrepreneurship and Bread making
  • Conclusion

The course is available on the platform Teachable at the price of 116.40$ and it will provide you with a unique method for driving positive social change through high-touch bread-making services and unique Bread Therapy that nurture respect, inclusion, and creativity in communities around the globe. Enroll now!

“Kneading” the world around us

Bread therapy can be applied in a variety of environments and types of groups. One of the groups we work closely in the last 5 years is a groups of children and youngsters with an autism spectrum disorder. Bread therapy has proven to be truly effective for them and this year together with Autism Association we implemented a 9 month project (from March until November) aiming at addressing the need for various art-therapeutic daily activities for children, young people and adults with General Development Disorder and their families.

Group therapeutic sessions with the social innovation of Bread Therapy were organized in specially developed thematic workshops. The project provided access to Bread Therapy to 24 participants. The activities were aimed to make participants feel emotionally charged, respected, active and capable. The kneading improved their fine motor skills and orientation, and the made bakery products brought satisfaction, as they were perceived as evidence of participants’ efficiency and developed skills. This increased confidence, self-belief abilities, self-esteem and a sense of personal effectiveness in everyday life.

At the end of project the participants themselves prepared a recipe book with all the recipes we have prepared in these 9 months, describing in details all the ingredients and processes of cooking. Through the preparation of bread, sweet seasonal desserts, salty cakes, pasta and traditional pastry we managed to cover a vast amount of educational topics and put focus on work with emotions and self-control. What is more we had so much fun and new delicious products that every next event was like a fresh breath of hope and love in a time of physical and social isolation.

Bread Houses Network – one of the ‘Great Organizations Using Bread To Make A Difference’

Making a difference in these difficult times can be quite challenging. Therefore we are proud to share with you that the Bread Houses Network has been included in Ezvid Wiki’s recently published video wiki “Great Organizations Using Bread To Make A Difference”.

One of the most ancient food items around, bread has long been a staple of diverse cultures throughout the world. Because it requires only basic, abundantly available ingredients, the doughy food can be made and enjoyed by just about anyone, making it an ideal item for uniting communities.”

HERE you can enjoy the video wiki with the 6 great organizations using bread, baking, and nutrition for social good!

And here is a list of the six organizations:

#1 Bread Houses Network

#2 Soup & Bread

#3 Community Grains

#4 Scotland The Bread

#5 Hot Bread Kitchen

#6 Bread for the City

We sincerely thank for the recognition and we are happy to see many other inspiring bread initiatives!

About Ezvid Wiki: Founded in 2011, Ezvid Wiki was the world’s first video wiki, and is now among the top 3,000 websites in the United States. Their YouTube channel has over 600,000 subscribers, with over 350 million views since founding.

Bread Houses Network welcomes new Crumbassadors from Italy

We are happy to share with you some exciting news! Till the end of the year we will implement 6 online trainings of various Italian organizations whose work is revolving around social inclusion and activities with migrants. We are glad that we will have the opportunity to share with them all of our Bread Therapy methods and good practices in making our society more inclusive and understanding.

We have already initiated these trainings with two Italian cooperatives – the social cooperative Con Te and HDmenti association both operating in Veneto region in Italy. For these purposes we have also developed an Italian version of our new online training platform in order to make the experience and use of the platform more reachable and beneficial for our newest trainees. Before giving them the opportunity to immerse themselves in the online training modules, we met online for a day in order to follow the steps of our beloved Theater of Crumbs and together create the common story and song of their teams.

These online meetings were truly inspiring both for us and for the participants, full of sharing and exchange of ideas, of better understanding themselves and the others. There were a lot of questions and answers given, a lot of laughter and positive belief that our work in the social sector can and should be continued and that we need to be flexible and innovative in these difficult and challenging times.

And even though we were separated by thousands of kilometers, the common desire to build a more inclusive society was brought by the power of bread!

We hope that our friends from the social cooperative Con Te and HDmenti association will continue supporting their local communities and that BREAD THERAPY will contribute to bringing more equality and understanding in their region.

Bread Encounters – Bread Houses Network’s licensee and the way they spread kindness through bread

Although 2020 is not the best year to call, it definitely brought us plenty of changes and opportunities. This summer we launched our online training platform Bread Therapy and started training people around the world from the comfort of their homes through our new digital product. One of our summer licensees was Sibyl Leon who was so inspired by our methods that she created her own NGO and is already using bread therapy in a quest for bringing a positive social change in her community.

Last week her organization Bread Encounters held their first bread therapy with children living in transitional housing. Here we are sharing with you Bread Encounters’ story about their last bread therapy activity with children in ECTLC campus. Enjoy their inspirational article!

” Our mission is to spread kindness and create human connection through bread. On Saturday, October 24, 2020, a historical day, we did just that!

BREAD Encounters held its first baking activities on the ECTLC campus which houses 400 residents in a transitional housing program, over 100 of them children. When we originally met with Director of Family Services James Merino and his lovely wife Claudia (Program Coordinator), he mentioned to us that that they had few programs for children at ECTLC. Since our programs can be tailored to a variety of audiences, it was decided that our initial programs would focus on the children.

Sabine Friedrich-Walter, BREAD Encounters’ Program Director, decided on a outdoor “pizza on the barbeque” baking event with selected children, while I (founder of BREAD Encounters) had the opportunity to lead my first official bread therapy session since getting certified by BREAD House Network in Sofia, Bulgaria this summer.

While Sabine was off to a bit of a rough start in the morning due to some initial hickups with the set up, once everything was in place, her pizza workshop for the kids (which included some unique pizza cookies) was much enjoyed by both the participants and their enthusiastic teacher!

 

My own class was not until the afternoon and I had the pleasure of having the support of my dear friend Ret. Navy Commander Tim McCully, the current Rotary Club of Point Loma President. Although by his own admission not the artistic type, Tim kindly participated in our flour drawing and the kids enjoyed hearing his explanation of the character he drew, the Dread Pirate Roberts. The premise for the flour drawings was to chose a favorite character from a movie, book or video. In the sharing part of the class, the children talked about their characters and what qualities of their characters made them their favorite. We learned about “The Good Egg”, Fusion Droid and even Captain Hook made it into a flour drawing. Since he generally is not recognized as a good character per se, I asked young Malachi how he came to chose Captain Hook. His explanation was an interesting one: He acknowledged that Hook was a bad guy, but that he was very impressed with the great acting skills of the person who portrayed Hook in the movie! We also learned that Fusion Droid and The Good Egg would not get along with each other if they happened to end up in the same universe. Who knew?

Malachi was not one of our assigned children for the class but he stopped by our class room and looked like he really wanted to participate and so, after procuring a face mask for him, we had him join the class. And a good thing it was! Otherwise we never would have learned about Captain Hook’s great acting skills!

During this part of our class we had some visitors in the form of a film crew who came to take some footage of our bread therapy session for ECTLC’s upcoming Virtual Gala in November. After all, ECTLC is the pilot for the first BREAD Houses Network program in a Transitional Housing Center!

Saturday was also designated International Bake Bread For Peace Day and I shared with the children that a lady in Ireland named Kelly Breezy who founded this event, was aware of our baking event today. One of the children told us that his teacher showed them a world map and I suggested that he look up Ireland when he went back to online class on Monday. He was also going to look up Bulgaria which is the country that BREAD Houses Network is located.”

If you already feel yourself full of enthusiasm, we encourage you to read the whole article HERE and learn more about Bread Encounters’ latest initiatives!

For those who want to learn how to become part of our Crumbassadors network, do visit our newest online educational platform BREAD THERAPY! We hope to hear from you soon 🙂

Let’s Go program for social enterprises

The declared state of emergency and the restrictive measures imposed due to the spread of COVID-19 have led to a change in the business environment and to an increase in social needs in our communities. The consequences of the crisis have affected the way we operate in the medium and long term, and at the same time, we, the social enterprises, are called to offer sustainable solutions to address issues of public importance, most of which existed before the crisis but which have been deepened as a consequence of it.

It was in the context of the crisis in June that our friends and colleagues from BCNL offered us a focused and intensive support, which addressed the specific needs in view of our plans for development and helped us clarify many ideas that had emerged in recent months.

Together with 14 other civil society organizations, we joined the program, which lasted 3 months (June-August) and which provided individual support to all 15 organizations. A team of mentors works with each social enterprise (experts in various fields: financial planning and sales, marketing and advertising, organizational and legal issues). The online meetings included individual sessions with mentors to set goals and tasks. Throughout the period we received specific advice and expert support from 4 mentors from the Business Institute, 9Academy and Unicredit Bulbank.

The business idea we worked on together with our great mentors was the launch and distribution of the latest product of the Bread Houses Network – the innovative online training platform on unique methods developed by Dr. Nadezhda Savova-Grigorova – Bread Therapy™ (https: / /breadtherapy.net/). The purpose of the platform is to enable people and organizations from all over the world to be trained in our methods of Bread Therapy™ in an online environment without having to travel thousands of kilometers, as this has been our practice so far. An entirely new set of video lessons and an educational manual on Bread Therapy was developed, describing in detail all 23 methods and programs (13 social programs and 10 unique paid services). This new product has allowed us to follow the mission and goals of the organization, constantly evolving and offering new tools for building a fairer and better world.

Participating in the Let’s Go Program has given us the opportunity to define the steps we need to follow to allow our methods to reach more people and communities and bring more sustainable social change globally.

We thank our wonderful mentors from the Business Institute, 9Academy and Unicredit Bulbank, as well as BCNL for the extremely professional organization and support throughout the program. We will keep you updated about the development of the platform and about the welcoming of the new Bakers without Borders, joining our global family!

Launching our new online training platform www.breadtherapy.net

We are happy to announce that we just launched our specialized online training platform www.breadtherapy.net with the mission to enable more individuals and organizations around the world to get trained in our methods online, without having to travel to our headquarters for on-site training. We have developed a whole new set of video tutorials and a complete Bread Therapy Toolkit (180 pages) describing in details all of 23 methods and programs in total (13 free social programs and 10 unique paid services). Please contact us for more information, ideas, and inspirations on how you can make a difference in your community and country implementing our know-how. Join our global family!