Monday, July 22, 2019

Interview with Jawaher Al Moayyed : A Few Cookies Could Go a Long Way with ‘White Spoon’

‘White Spoon’ is an initiative for a great cause by the  Bahraini entrepreneur Jawaher Al Moayyed, who has raised a huge amount of money to realize the educational dreams of 8 women in the Kingdom.

Bahrain This Week talks with Jawaher Al Moayyed on her intriguing journey with ‘White Spoon’.

How was the origin of ‘White Spoon’?

During my December break in Bahrain, in the 4th year of University, a dear friend told me about her works in Syrian refugee camp to buy them tents. I wanted to learn more about the crisis to help them.

I watched the Netflix documentary “White Helmets,” and that’s actually where I got the inspiration for the name “White Spoon”. I wanted to help by raising money, but I didn’t want to just ask people for donations. So we started selling my mother’s famous cookies. We raised 14,000 BD and that was when the idea of “White Spoon” originated.

During my last semester in university I developed the 50/50 business model of White Spoon before coming to Bahrain.

‘White Spoon’ has so far fulfilled the dreams of 8 women so far. How did you identify them?

I think this is the hardest part of it all. You want to help everyone, but you can’t! My dream is to be able to say YES to every girl who seeks education!

Since our funds are still limited, I have set a criteria to pick potential applicants. It is more effective to choose applicants who have the potential to help others in the future. To ensure that the ripple effect is greater. When I choose an applicant, I always ask her how she will use her education to help someone she knows.

What we look for in the applicants are:

  • An ambition and realistic dreams.
  • Strive towards their dream, and putting an effort to achieve them.
  • A sense of social responsibility to help someone else in the future.

What was the most satisfying one out of all?

Every cause is inspiring, because each girl has unique dreams. One that I would like to mention in particular is of Erlyn. She is the daughter of my cookie manager -Joseline. Joseline was studying in an engineering university when she got pregnant with Erlyn. She dropped out of school to support her child and became a domestic helper. She is extremely dedicated and supported me to open ‘White Spoon’. It could not have been what it is today without her help.

Erlyn is a bright girl like her mother, got perfect grades in high school and even earned a full scholarship! She used to work after her classes to get money to pay for her dorm. So Erlyn became our 4th cause and I hope in the future Erlyn will get more choices than her mother had.

What is your 9th cause?

Our 9th cause is Zainab, a Bahraini mother who works full – time in the Ministry of Health while raising 2 beautiful girls. For the past 7 years, Zainab has been struggling to continue her education that has been hindered due to some financial limitations. To make her dreams come true, she sells homemade cookies and cakes too.

Zainab achieved one milestone by taking the first step and registered for her course and attends night classes. She works at the Ministry to provide for her children.

We are trying to raise 4,320 BHD for Zainab’s upcoming courses. Join us in this quest and make a dream for someone come true.

A few cookies could go a long way with White Spoon!

What were your initial challenges?

White Spoon is transparent about the beneficiaries and sometimes people that have an opinion regarding whom we should help. The reason may be more pressing needs like hunger, poverty and destitution as compared to education.

I don’t aim to put out fires, I want to find the cause of the fire. That is how I see education and the solution to poverty. Like the old saying goes “Give a woman a fish, feed her for a day. Teach her how to fish, and she will feed herself and her family for a lifetime. This is what I meant by sustainable giving.

Do you believe that Bahrain needs more initiatives like this?

Yes, definitely!

Consumers are more conscious about their purchases and decisions. They care more about the effect of products on the environment, ecology and society.

From the business perspective, I feel that doing good for others is a constant motivation. I want White Spoon to be the best because it helps people.

Who are your greatest supporters?

My greatest personal supporters are my family. Specifically, my mother, Dina Buachale. All of the recipes in ‘White Spoon’ are developed by her!

My customers are also my biggest supporters because it’s through them that we are able make the investment into girls’ education. So to our loyal customers, and our followers who have shared our account with their friends or even people who have just shown interest in the idea, THANK YOU!

What’s the most important lesson that you have learned out from ‘White Spoon’?

The most important thing I learned from this journey is to not be afraid of the first step. I had done it unconsciously, when I took the leap and opened White Spoon from home with only one product and an Instagram account. But I’m aware now that was the best thing I did. I sit with some people and talk to them about starting their own project, and I notice they are afraid to launch the idea because they want it to be perfect.

My shop is not perfect, my accounting system is not perfect, and my cookies might not be perfect (although I think they are) but the point is it will be one day!

White Spoon and I are learning how to walk like babies do, were crawling, and then were standing up, we will lose our balance and fall, but we will get up and walk again until we are perfect for walking.

What’s next for ‘White Spoon’?

We are working on a new idea to have each coffee shop that we supply to have a different cause. That way we can simultaneously fund more than one girl at a time.

Last, but not least, tell us about the dreams and aspirations of Jawaher Al Moayyed out of ‘White Spoon’

I would like to help make this world a better place through my personal life and more importantly, my professional life for the next generation.

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