Purpose of the cookie Project
According to Stats NZ, 1 in 4 Kiwis have a disability and their employment rate is only 22% compared those who are non-disabled at 70%. That’s over 250,000 capable Kiwis desperately looking for employment!
The Cookie Project is a social enterprise that that employs Kiwis with disabilities to make delicious cookies.
Founded in 2018 by Graeme and Eric, our purpose is to help Kiwis with disabilities understand their own value to themselves and to society by paying them at least the minimum wage of $17.70 an hour.
We’re leading New Zealand with our inclusive employment framework for the disability community, by having a pan-disability recruitment policy and we never ask for resume nor do we conduct interviews.
All our cookies are hand made at the Eat My Lunch kitchen, using only the finest Kiwi ingredients like Lewis Road Creamery butter so we know you’ll love the taste as much as the purpose behind it.
We’re aligned with Sustainable Development Goals #8 and #10.
Take a sneak peek behind the scenes
How we’re making and measuring our impact
In the first ten months since launching in June 2018, we have created the following impact:
We have 23 people with disabilities on our roster, with another 40 on the waiting list
We have generated over 678 hours of paid employment at minimum wage of $17.70 an hour
We have received an average score of 8.5 out of 10 for happiness levels from the people with disabilities
We have received an average score of 9 out of 10 for sense of belonging from people with disabilities
We are breaking down social stigma about the disability community because 8 out of 10 volunteers have not worked with people with disabilities prior to coming to our kitchen
Founders of The Cookie Project
Meet Graeme and Eric - two strangers who met in a community event in 2017. Eric was giving a talk about purpose (ikigai) and how to build a purpose driven business (social enterprise). Graeme was attending to learn more about setting up business. After learning about Graeme’s heartfelt story about the difficulty looking after three disabled youths, Eric was very moved and decided to do something to help Graeme.
We started small with Graeme’s adopted Maori children who are now three amazing youths: Nga Hou aged 17, Tony aged 16, and Tyson aged 14. They are the three faces on our logo and they were born with at least 10 various types of disabilities, such as:
In-utero and prenatal alcohol exposure
Global learning difficulties and intellectual disability
Eric was born in Ipoh which is a small mining town of Malaysia. He comes from a family line of migrants and grew up with the stories of how tough life was for his parents and grandparents - war, poverty and lack of education. For example, Eric’s parents had to sell cakes and cookies after school to help make a living for the family in the 1950s. It was because of these stories of struggle that fuelled Eric to succeed in life and made sure he breaks the cycle through education. Eric studied hard and worked even harder during his early banking career – he was one of the youngest expats from ANZ working in the banking sector and was fortunate to experience life in eight different countries across Asia and Australia. In 2013, he arrived in New Zealand as Head of Migrant Banking for the largest bank in New Zealand. He decided to leave the corporate world in 2017 and to start his first social enterprise in helping community groups and those in less fortunate positions.