Burnley businessman's Ethiopian legacy of 'edu-cake-tion'

A generous Burnley business has pledged its continued support to help fund the construction of schools within coffee growing communities on International Charity Day.

Monday, 6th September 2021, 3:45 pm

Working with the Costa Foundation for the past six years, CherryTree Bakery has already funded the construction of two schools in remote Ethiopian villages, Shifo and Kilenso.

Championing not only maths and language, but awareness around key societal issues such as HIV/AIDS and gender equality, Gary Entwistle, Founder and Executive Chair of CherryTree Bakery, remains committed to continuing support of the cause.

Gary explains: “Ethiopia is such a magical place, but children there face many barriers to education through civil war, political unrest and social expectations. Visiting Ethiopia was a truly humbling experience and one I shall never forget. Education shouldn’t just be for the privileged and I would definitely encourage other businesses to engage with projects like the Costa Foundation.

Pictured is Gary Entwistle, Founder and Executive Chair of CherryTree Bakery at the opening of the new school in Kilenso.

“To know that cakes and traybakes from Burnley have enabled thousands of children within poor Ethiopian communities to access valuable education is a wonderful feeling and quite a legacy to leave behind.”

Gary visited Ethiopia with his children in 2015 to celebrate the opening of Shifo’s school, and then again in 2018, with Julie Page, CherryTree Bakery’s Operations Director. Only 60 percent of Ethiopia’s children are enrolled in full time education and arranged marriages are not uncommon for girls as young as 13 – signalling an end to any form of education or schooling.

Gary added: “Education in Ethiopia leads to personal development and community change. Communities learn about HIV/AIDS, gender equality, sustainability and business, which in turn

results in better smallholding management, coffee harvest and budgeting.”

CherryTree Bakery was introduced to the Costa Foundation by one of their longstanding clients of twelve years, Costa Coffee. The Costa Foundation aims to eradicate poverty within coffee growing communities by building new schools and gifting key resources such as electricity, school books and computers.

Gary explained: “Our donation enabled the construction of both schools, including multiple classrooms, toilets and an on-site library. Once the infrastructure is built, the Ethiopian government then steps in to provide teachers and ongoing curriculum support.”