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Mama Fresh: Baking Injera and Creating Impact in Ethiopia
I started working at Mama Fresh in November 2010; it has been five year since I started working here. I have a relative who used to work at Mama Fresh as a supervisor in the dough room, and she recommended me to MF management. But she [has since] left MF and is currently working at another company.
I have been baking injera since I was a little girl. We had a family business [local café] at Hossana, and I used to bake injera there. I wanted to go and work in the Middle East, and that is why I [initially] came to the city [Addis Ababa], but after realizing this is not a good choice for me, I stopped and began searching for work here. After changing several jobs I started working at Mama Fresh as injera baker.
Mama Fresh injera compared to the injera I make at home is much healthier because it is made from pure teff. I usually mix other grains with teff to make injera at home and so do other households. The process here is also much cleaner because we are using clean utensils; the workers are very efficient and the process is much more modernized than baking injera at home. Overall, the production process is safe, clean and dough processing is different from what I do at home. Besides, the teff we use is quality teff and not mixed with other grains - I know because the teff is ground here at the facility - I prefer eating Mama Fresh injera than any other injera, even from what I make at home.
Before joining Mama Fresh I used to work at a carpet-manufacturing factory as an operator. While I was working there, I had my first child and took a maternity leave, but this didn’t make my bosses happy so they had to let me go! I started looking for other job, but I was required to work on night shifts, which was impossible for me because I had to take care of my baby. That is when I heard about Mama Fresh from one of my relatives who was working here. Although I haven’t seen that much growth in my salary, working at Mama Fresh has made my life stable, so I can raise my kid. He is now seven years old and is in first grade. The management team is very understanding about my problem[s], they are good people, and I feel like they are my family. They help me out when I have money problems by lending me money to pay for my kid’s school.
I like baking injera because it a quiet job, and I can focus on baking for a long time.
I have been baking injera since I was a child, so it came from experience. And the incentive given to us if we bake more injera we will [then] get paid more money. Currently the quota is to bake 350 injera per shift, but on a good day I usually bake from 450 to 600 injera per day, using four to five metads [ovens]. But it all depends on the power available and time I have. Once I get in the facility I am very focused, I just want to bake injera.
Yes, I earn my own money and raise my child so it has made me feel empowered as a woman. Since I am a single mom, I am required to support my child and his needs. It has inspired me to be an entrepreneur – I want to start my own business.