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About Us

Our Story

My family and I traveled to Jinja, in 2015 on a mission trip, to serve an organization called Sole Hope. We made several lasting friendships while we were there, including other missionaries and local Ugandan people. 

I left Uganda a changed person. We all came home different. It's hard to put into words, unless you have experienced a trip like this, but to see God work in the people you're serving, as well as your own heart, is truly humbling. I knew I wanted to do something, anything, to help the people we traveled so far to serve, but I didn't know how. Ultimately it wasn't the right time. Fast forward to November 2020, I reached out to a few missionaries as well as some of the Ugandan friends that I had kept in touch with all of these years. I explained that I still had a strong desire to DO something there but wasn't sure what. 

My friend and Sonrisa co-founder, Mary Apio said that she has always dreamt of owning her own cooking school or restaurant! I said "YES! I can do that!" I have owned my own restaurant as well as a bakery! "Let's do it!" So the Zoom calls began! 

We both knew we wanted a purpose behind the mission. A ministry that would be legacy-changing for the local people. Mary has her own story of how she was forced into a child marriage at the age of 14, after being raped and impregnated. She was able to escape ten years later, with her life, but nothing else. No education, no means to support herself, no skills, no job, leaving her children behind. By the grace of God, Mary was able to go on to find a job and a home,  She asked her neighbor to borrow his old used rolling pin to make chapati (similar to a tortilla),  You'll notice our logo is the rolling pin. This is why. Mary's journey to healing and independence started with a used, borrowed rolling pin. 

The mission of the school is to provide a farm to table learning environment for other survivors of child marriage, as well as anyone else that would like to attend. Our hope is that each student would leave with a sense of hope, empowerment, skills to farm, cook, or serve in the hospitality industry, so they too, can support themselves and their families. 

Since we started the culinary school, we have added a blessing bread ministry, where loaves of challah bread  are given to needy families in the village. Once we started making regular visits to the village, we realized that the young girls are not being educated. The team at Sonrisa jumped into action immediately and started raising funds for scholarships to get these girls in school. 

I can't describe how God has moved all of the puzzle pieces, perfectly into place, to begin Sonrisa. 


Pam Graves


What We Do

  • Culinary Arts Training: Our comprehensive training programs teach young women, essential culinary skills, including cooking techniques, nutrition, food safety, gardening and kitchen management.

  • Empowerment Workshops: In addition to culinary training, we offer workshops on topics such as business, financial literacy, internships and empowering girls to make informed decisions about their lives.

  • Mentorship and Support: We provide ongoing mentorship and support to our students, guiding them as they navigate their career paths and overcome physical and spiritual challenges

  • Community Engagement: We work closely with local communities, families, churches and leaders to raise awareness about the importance of girls' education and the dangers of forced marriages.

Meet the Team


USA Team


How You Can Help

You can make a difference in the lives of young girls in Uganda by supporting Sonrisa School and Bakery in the following ways:

  • Donate: Your generous donations help fund our programs, providing girls with access to education, training, and resources.

  • Volunteer: Join us as a volunteer and share your skills and expertise with our students. Whether you're a chef, educator, or mentor, your support can make a lasting impact.

  • Spread the Word: Help raise awareness about our cause by sharing our story with your friends, family, and networks. Together, we can create a brighter future for young girls in Uganda.


Want To Make a Difference?

Help us raise money for our humanitarian cause

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