China Modern Baking 烘焙通
No. 28, 2011-06-01
There is an old saying in China: “Saving one life is better than setting up a seven-storey pagoda”. Perhaps the twelve young organizers from France did not understand the meaning expressed by the saying when they set up Shanghai Young Bakers (SYB), however they obviously knew that there were still a great number of children from poor families who needed help. Based on that, the purpose of SYB is to build a platform where the children in difficulty can have free opportunities to learn baking skills and help them successfully integrate into society.
Shanghai Young Bakers appeals to give children in difficulty a chance to grow
Early on we heard about the charity activities of SYB, and during Shanghai Baking Exhibition we happened to meet Miss Cecile Cavoizy who is one of the organizers of SYB. She gave us a brief introduction of SYB and we were greatly moved by their dedication and spirit of giving without receiving any value in return. Out of a moral attitude as well as the appeal to gain more concern to this disadvantaged group, we made an appointment to have an interview with Ms Cavoizy in order to know more about SYB.
Journalist: Can you briefly talk about the situation of SYB?
Ms Cavoizy: SYB was launched in 2009 and it was sponsored by Carrefour International Foundation, French yeast producer Lesaffre and SweetPearl (star ingredient of Roquette) with the aim to provide children in difficulty with a fully-sponsored premium training in traditional French Bakery. Through a CSR-oriented network of partnerships with associations, corporations and schools, the foundation selects children in difficulty or orphans aged 17 to 23 throughout China to receive one-year free training. SYB’s training courses are designed with the support from the Ecole Francaise de Boulangerie d’Aurillac (EFBA) and are taught by a French Chinese-speaking professional baker Thomas Kalkhoven according to standards of French professional qualifications. The students are divided into 2 groups so that each student can attend 2 weeks of classes, followed by 2 weeks of internships. After successful graduation, they will be granted with Xidian Miandian certificates (Level 5 and Level 4) by Shanghai Labor Bureau which is recognized throughout China. So far, we have successfully trained 3 batches of graduates and they have been assigned to the bakery of hotels with high stars. According to the feedback from hotels, our graduates work very hard and enjoy their jobs. Meanwhile, they also help reduce their family burden and find the new hopes for life.
Journalist: We know that the SYB was launched by you and other 11 young French, we’d like to ask you how did you come up with this idea?
Ms Cavoizy: We have been in China for many years and we have gained a lot here, therefore, we always think what we can do more for all the Chinese friends. When watching some children who could not afford to attend school due to poverty, resulting in no job skills, we decided to establish SYB which would provide free training in traditional French bakery for 17-23 aged young adults in difficulty as a kind of a way of giving back to China.
Journalist: To train one graduate requires a lot of energy and financial resources; however, SYB does not get any fees from the students. So far, how is the daily operation of SYB?
Ms Cavoizy: All the major expenses of students in SYB are sponsored by Carrefour International Foundation, French yeast producer Lesaffre and SweetPearl (star ingredient of Roquette). All the staff here are caring volunteers from all over the world, among which some are Chinese volunteers working with dedication for free. In terms of teacher training, we have already sent 3 students to continue study in France and they will become teachers after their return, thereby enlarging our teaching forces. In general, we are still confronted with high pressure in our financial operations. Fortunately, we have a new baking center, and we plan to rent the center to industries every month for their products exhibitions, seminars and other activities during the 2-week interval when students are out for internship, therefore, we can manage to improve the operation of SYB through the income.
Before the end of the interview, Ms Cavoizy told us that the new baking center was still lacking in some equipments, so if some caring industries could provide some concern and help to them, they would be very grateful. Finally, Ms Cavoizy said that she believed that good people enjoyed rewards and a good life.
We all know that to prop up a blue sky for children in difficulty, the strength is too weak to depend only on a few volunteers. However, the domestic baking industry is becoming stronger and its strength expands continuously. The future development of this field must be supported by more professional talents, therefore, dedicating to or supporting SYB is more than a kind of charity, but contribution to the industry development by the supply of trained people. Let’s join hands to provide assistance to those who desperately need help!
Thank you to SYB for giving us new hope!
Jiang Zhaosheng, from Anhui Province, a graduate from the first batch of SYB, now working at No.18 on the Bund
Jiang Zhaosheng lost his mother when he was only a little boy, and it was his father who brought him up. In order to pay the tuition fees for him, his father sold blood several times. Unfortunately, his father got incurable illness through selling his blood which made them even more impoverished. In order to cure his father and support the whole family, Jiang dropped out of school and came to Guangzhou to earn some money. When Chi Heng Foundation got to know his situation, he was introduced by the organization to receive free training of baking skills in SYB. One year later, Jiang successfully graduated and got a job at No.18 on the Bund. His salary now reaches almost RMB3000. Every month, Jiang will send what’s left of his pay back home so that his father can have more nutritious food. Jiang said that he was so grateful to SYB and he would work even harder to live up to their expectation and careful cultivation.
Zhao Xueyan, from Henan Province, a current student of SYB
Zhao Xueyan comes from a single-parent family and it is her weak mother who supports the whole family. With great efforts, her mother managed to let her attend junior school but the tuition fees of her brother became a big problem. In order to provide education opportunities to her brother, Zhao left school. Later Chi Heng Foundation recommended her to SYB after they knew what had happened to her. Now Zhao has attended the training course for almost one year, and she will find a real job this July. Zhao told the journalists that SYB not only provided job skills to her, but let her feel the warmth and kindness of a family. She would dedicate herself to future work with full enthusiasm and pay back those who have helped her with outstanding success.