Shanghai Young Bakers (SYB) trains Chinese orphans aged 17 to 23 in the art of French bakery and Chinese-style western pastry making. Thomas Meron is SYB’s Project Manager and, as the only full-time staff member, he coordinates SYB’s activities and volunteer base. I spoke with Thomas to find out what’s cooking at SYB (pun intended).
SVG: How did Shanghai Young Bakers get started?
Thomas Meron: The project idea started in 2008, but the first students arrived in 2009. Originally it was a project of the French Junior Chamber International—a group of young French people who start projects benefiting the community. The idea was simple. The founders, having spent a lot of time in China wanted to make something socially meaningful. They saw two things. The first was that the bakery market was booming, especially in big cities, the other was that China still has a lot of poverty and need. So from these two points they decided to start SYB. Because SYB was getting bigger, it separated from the Chamber at the beginning of 2010.