Khayelitsha is a township on the outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa. In Khayelitsha almost one million people live below poverty level in one room homes typically made of corrugated iron and scrape lumber. One out of four children suffers from chronic malnutrition. Seventy percent of the women who raise their families alone are unemployed with little to no education or job skills.
That was the reality facing Alicia Polak when she decided to open the Khayelitsha Cookie Company. Alicia seems an unlikely choice for the task ahead. She didn't know anything about baking and less about the South African economy but she had the will and desire to help and a background in investment banking didn't hurt.
While working for one of the Non-Governmental aid organizations in the area, the Philadelphia native began to look for a way to teach employable skills and provide a sustainable income to the struggling women. Her solution - bake all natural, preservative free gourmet cookies and sell them to the local resorts and high end restaurants in Cape Town. Her goal - find investors and distributors to buy their cookies worldwide. Her mission - teach the employees all aspects of running the business, instill pride in the product and change a few lives in the process.
Each woman is in charge of her cookies through out the baking and production process. A few of the women are responsible for developing new recipes and are given time during their workday to experiment with the ingredients. Polak and her team are training them to be self-sustaining, employable, educated women who can conquer any obstacle in their path.
There is a note on the http://www.khayacookies.com/ website that reminds us to place our orders early for Christmas delivery. I'd listen and get a move on to give this unique, delectable gift that is more than just a tasty treat...it's a brownie that's changing lives.
Way to go ladies of Khaya Cookie Company! More power to ya!