Queenies Oven Green Cafe

The rationale behind this project is three-fold: (i) to provide skills to young Indian people and; (ii) reduce the foil garbage coming from cookies for temple offerings, puja’s and; (iii) for the residents and guests of the Thosamling community to be able to eat delicious, healthy baked goods.

The aim of the project is to train un-employed and under-employed local youth to bake high quality goods, and to run a successful business. In 2011, with the assistance of a qualified baker nun from Australia, two youth were professionally trained to bake breads, cakes, tarts, biscuits and items that meet European standards. Following the training, Thosamling purchased a bread mixer and other items so that the production of bakery items could begin. In April 2012, a shop was opened just outside the gate of the famous Norbulingka Institute in order to sell the baked goods to the public.

Jonu Rana is a local woman Venerable Sangmo trained to operate the bakery shop, which we named Queenie’s Oven Green Cafe. Once current bakery team gained confidence, Venerable Sangmo withdrew her hands-on involvement in the business. Today the team operates the highly successful business by themselves, relying on Venerable Sangmo only as a trusted mentor.

The bakery team not only supplies baked goods for Thosamling and Queenie’s Oven, but also supplies bakery items to cafes and restaurants in the busy tourist destination of Mcleod-Ganj.

Today the bakery team consists of four young people, shown in the photo above:
• Jonu, who runs the bakery shop
• Shashi, who manages orders and tracks income and expenditure
• Manoj and Sunny, "the fabulous baker boys", do everything from rolling out the dough and mixing batter to carrying gas cylinders from the village to fuel the oven.

 

Thosamling Nunnery, Institute and Retreat Center.