Freedom from Torture - Behind the recipe: Maira and vegan raspberry muffins

Behind the recipe: Maira and vegan raspberry muffins

Maira Shahid is Freedom from Torture’s Supporter Relations Coordinator, a vital link with our many supporters and donors. But she is also an avid and versatile baker, drawing inspiration from both her Pakistani heritage and her love of traditional western style cakes and cookies, like raspberry muffins – vegan style.

Maira says that baking is a passion and is rooted in her family background. Her mother made south Asian style treats – super-sweet but wonderfully refreshing in the hot weather when the family visited Pakistan.

Maira began cooking and baking when she was still a schoolgirl and continued when she was in university, where she organised bake sales for charitable causes. Her sister, who also attended university, is another keen baker and their baking repertoire crosses cultural and culinary boundaries.

Thanking our donors

Maira is a member of Freedom from Torture Individual Giving team, which develops and maintains links with individual donors and supporters, including through The Survivor, our supporter newsletter.

We have thousands of loyal supporters who collectively provide a large proportion of the income which enables us to provide much-needed therapy and other services to torture survivors in the UK. As Supporter Relations Supporter Maira is in direct contact with our supporters, answering queries, explaining our work, and helping to sort out any problems or misunderstandings that arise.

Every day is the same and every day is different, says Maira. She checks and answers emails from supporters, changing details as required. She works closely with our finance department, sorting out problems with direct debits, standing orders and CAF cheques, and ensuring that donations are directed to the correct accounting line. She talks to supporters who ring in with queries.

The volume of work always increases when a new appeal goes out, and Maira is grateful for the dedicated team of part-time volunteers who help with the work. It is precise, meticulous work which needs great attention to detail, including checking computerised batch reports and updating schedules – all drawing on the knowledge and skills she developed in her business management degree.

Charity is a guiding principle of life in the Muslim world – cooking and donating food to less fortunate people is an important gesture. Maira says that everyone can try for one charitable act a day – and it doesn’t have to be about money. Just a friendly smile at a stranger can be an act of charity, she says.

She is delighted to see that Freedom from Torture has launched Bake Freedom and more than happy to share one of her favourite recipes with supporters.

Most cakes and desserts are ideal for vegetarians but not always for vegans. Although not a vegan herself, Maira is aware that increasing numbers of people practice a vegan diet, whether for health or ethical reasons. One of Maira’s close friends is a vegan and so Maira develops vegan-friendly recipes, finding substitutes for non-vegan ingredients.

For example, today there are many non-dairy milks such as almond or coconut that can be used in lieu of cow’s milk, but it is more surprising to find banana taking the place of eggs. But why not try Maira’s vegan raspberry muffins and see for yourself how tasty and delicious vegan food can be.

Thank you Maira for sharing your baking story for Bake Freedom. Find out how you can get involved here.

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