A cooking class in central Asia not only teaches women vital skills, it also teaches them how to face set backs with confidence, as Meerim's story, told by our project worker, shows

'One day I was teaching two local women a new but very easy Indian snack recipe called muruku.

While we were making them, one of the ladies, Meerim*, felt she could not do it at all.

Hesitant to try

She watched me make it but she felt that it was impossible for her to learn to do it even though it is very easy to make. I tried to help her but she was hesitant to try. 

Meerim is a single mother. When she was a Muslim she got married and had a daughter but a short while later he died and she was left to raise the child herself.

A tragic loss

Later she became a Christian and got married to a Christian man, but, tragically, he died within three months of their wedding. Once again she found herself a single mom but this time she was also pregnant.

She is a determined woman and raised her children while working hard day and night. Now her two children are grown up, faithful Christians, and studying in good colleges. But she needs to earn money to support her education.

Meerim watched as another lady learned how to get the shape of muruku right. Feeling a little more confident, Meerim came forward to try.

Feeling useless

She struggled through five or six attempts but the mould kept opening and the dough was coming through the sides. She spoiled the shape and felt that she was no good at making it, and that it was useless. And she felt sorry for spoiling the dough and drying it out.

I didn’t say anything but I gave her a lot of time to keep trying it out. Once more, she took the mould filled with the dough. With shivering hands and all the while talking to herself, she tried again. Finally, when she made the muruku in the right way, she burst out in joy and excitement. She asked for more dough and made it again and again until the dough was finished.

Building self-confidence

At the end of the cooking class, she said “Making muruku brought my self-esteem back. I can make many things better if only I could build more self-confidence.”

Then she added, “I didn’t realize even making cookies can help me to see my low self-esteem but trying it out is a great way to build up my self-esteem. I am looking forward to learning to make many other Indian snacks.”

And by the end of the month her confidence was so high that she was selling the snacks twice a week to the International community in our city.

Your support helps us help women like Meerim - so many women need their confidence restored and your gifts can make that happen! $150 sets one woman or child on a path to freedom. But any gift you give will make a difference. Thank you.

*Name changed to protect identity