KhaleejiGirl (KG) Interviews Jawaher Al Moayed Founder of @whitespoon_bh
Meet Jawaher Al Moayed, founder of the Bahraini bakery @whitespoon_bh. Jawaher has made it a point where 50% of the profits go to educational causes. Check out her interview below to find out more!
KG: So I’m curious, I saw on your Instagram account that your intention is all about empowering women. Why is that? Why would 50% of your proceeds go towards education?
A: I chose to create a charity like business towards education for women because there are a lot of studies that show how if you want to take a family out of poverty, education is the number 1 thing. If you educate a woman you are educating her children in the future. Children have a higher chance of education if their mother is educated and there are a lot of studies to back this up.
KG: What motivated you to do this?
A: I always had this thought process of “how can I change the world?” There are charities in Bahrain where you can buy people an air conditioner or you can pay for their rent and that’s so good but tomorrow when the air conditioner breaks down the family will still need another charitable dinar to fix that.
For me, I like sustainable things so I feel like if I give a dinar towards education today I’m investing in the person’s education today but not only for themselves, also for everyone around them. After more research I found out that when you do it towards women it has a greater impact.
KG: Do you remember when you first started thinking this way?
A: I read a book a long time ago called Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof. It opened my eyes to how to change the world through women. I also watched a movie called the Girl Effect. It was all books and movies that led me to think this way. My sister also worked with WCCI in Bahrain and her and I work very closely together. So, her just coming and telling me stories in Bahrain about female rights and how it’s a struggle for them so I feel like it was an eye opener to me.
KG: What kind of remarks or support have you had with @whitespoon_bh?
A: I received a lot of support. My mom is supporting me and actually all the recipes are all hers. I don’t bake at all. I’m not a woman who likes to bake but I remember my mom from when I was a kid she loved cooking and baking. She used to always say, “when you girls grow up I want to open a bakery.” So, when I graduated I told my mom I have this idea of how I want to sell cookies. And even though my mom is busy with her business, I still have her support all the way.
Another woman I feel I couldn’t have done this without is my house maid Josephine. Since we were doing this at home, I’d always give her an extra tip on the side and she became personally committed to it and it is not her apart of her job. She’d come to me with suggestions like “what if we do this or that?”
I know Josephine has a daughter who is studying, so I asked her if she needs help with that. Although she has a full scholarship, her daughter still works on the side to pay for her dorm. So, I wanted to help her with that so she doesn’t have to work on the side.
KG: Tell me the history of @whitespoon_bh along with the name.
A: When I was still in college and I came back to Bahrain for December break, my mom’s friend called me and said she was going to Syria to a refugee camp and it was winter there at the time so she needed to buy them tents. If you want to send a donation send it to my house and tell all your friends. I was very excited about doing this but I felt hesitant to tell my social group and friends to give donations. So instead I thought let’s bake cookies because my mom kept the recipe a secret in hopes of one day opening a bakery. I spoke to my mom and told her about the idea of baking these cookies where the proceeds would go to Syrian refugees. So, I posted it on Instagram and it became such a big thing and we raised a little more than 14,000 BD. I was so surprised not only in sale but also because when people heard I’m selling cookies for a cause a couple of people and my family members pitched in. I felt like people want to help but they don’t know where to so this motivated me to start a business. After gathering the money and my mom’s friend went to Syria, I found this documentary on Netflix called White Helmets which is all about Syrian processionals who are doctors or engineers. When the war happened, they didn’t flee the country they became a rescue team and their signature thing was white helmets. That motivated me to call my bakery white spoons because I want to
feed people and help others.
I thought about 50-50 (50% of proceeds go towards educating women) because I want this business charity to be sustainable on how it makes money and how it gives money. So as long as there is a product and as long as my business is growing the charity is coming in. I want to invest in something. So, if I invest in education, I’m ensuring this person won’t need help tomorrow.