Shanghai Young Bakers 2012 Graduates Celebrates Milestone in their Baking Journey

Shanghai Young Bakers 2012 Graduates Celebrates Milestone

in their Baking Journey

Bakery program provides a platform for 21 underprivileged youth a skill to succeed in life

SHANGHAI, China. July 16, 2012 – Shanghai Young Bakers (, a non-profit organization, aimed at improving the lives of underprivileged youth in China through French bakery skills training, announced that all 21 students from its 2012 class have graduated from the organization’s fourth enrolment. Furthermore, the 2012 graduates were trained by three top graduates – Wang Li, Zhang Zhenghai and Xiao Jinjin – from the class of 2009 who, under the sponsorship of Carrefour Foundation continued their studies in France and graduated with the C.A.P. diploma at Ecole Francaise de Boulangerie d’Aurillac (EFBA). They had returned to SYB last August to teach at SYB.

This year’s graduation ceremony also highlighted SYB’s partnership with Braille Without Borders (BWB), Tibet. Under SYB’s training, Basang Lamu, one of BWB’s sighted staff who also interned at GrandMercure Hongqiao will return to Shigatse, Tibet. In assistance from SYB, Basang Lamu and Tse Droga who completed the initial training from SYB will help develop BWB’s Bakery for the Blind.

“Our partnership with Braille Without Borders marks our first initiative to develop a “train-the-trainer” program that will allow other organizations with similar objectives as SYB’s to replicate what we do,” said Cecile Cavoizy, program manager, Shanghai Young Bakers. “Our partnership with BWB also speaks to the tremendous need in China for professional vocational training especially in the area of Western-style bakery where there is a huge shortage of talent in this industry.”

The graduation ceremony led by Shanghai French Consul, Mr. Emmanuel Lenain was held at Jugend Space. Aside from Mr. Lenain, Mr Xu Benliang from the Shanghai Charity Foundation also presented the graduates their diplomas. Prior to the graduation ceremony, SYB organized a career fair where graduates were provided with the opportunity to meet potential employers, such as Marriott hotels and HoF café.

“China’s rapid development has ushered a change in lifestyle where more and more Chinese appreciate Western bread.,” said Annick Vergne, from Carrefour Foundation. “However, the talent shortage in bakery is a crucial issue. Professional baking schools such as Shanghai Young Bakers continue to fill this gap. Therefore, it is important for us to continue supporting SYB as the program helps train the next generation of young bakers, and at the same time address the poverty alleviation issue through skills training.”

Since the inception of SYB in 2008, 74 students have graduated from this program. The program was founded in 2008, by a group of volunteers who were inspired by similar projects that offer underprivileged youth an opportunity to succeed in life through skills training. A number of SYB graduates now work in hotels and bakeries such as Sunflour, Glo London, and La Brioche Dorée.

Fan Chunrong, a graduate of SYB 2012 class said, “Life is filled with ironies and contradictions. I realized that happiness has nothing to do with being wealthy, but to discover contentment in the routine in life. I might not have the most ideal childhood and my life had been filled with despair. However, being born unfortunate doesn’t mean there there’s no better future ahead. I am very lucky and honored to be part of the Shanghai Young Bakers program. This experience has given me an opportunity to live, work and ultimately be part of the Shanghai society. More importantly, through SYB I have discovered hope.”

After the graduation ceremony, guests enjoyed the bread and quiche baked by Shanghai Young Bakers. In the bid to raise funds for its upcoming Tibet trip and complement the sponsorship provided by Shanghai Business International Travel and Huaqiao Foundation, SYB also sold aprons and decorated hard bread to raise funds.