When I started volunteering at Shanghai Young Bakers nearly 2 years ago (how time flies), I did not really know what to expect. My job was to look for new sponsors and funding, an activity that can be frustrating at times as not all contacts will convert to donors or partners, but successes easily made up for the less successful projects. This job certainly taught me to be patient as good things often take time before they happen.
I met many people from the Non Government Organisation (NGO) community and I guess it is a bit of a cliché to say that many of these people are passionate about what they do, but it could not be more true. I have met and worked with wonderful people whose main purpose in life is to make the world a better place. This commitment extends to working very long hours and often for 6 or 7 days a week.
There is nothing more rewarding than to witness the changes in our students after their 11 months of classes and internships. Most SYB students come from rural areas of China with little or no experience of living or visiting large cities like Shanghai. They must face life away from family and friends and their familiar environment. It is one of the main achievements of the SYB teachers and staff to be able to instil self-confidence in the students, to show them that if they work hard they can achieve much. The shy demeanour of their first few weeks in Shanghai turn to laughter, happiness and camaraderie. Seeing the pride in their achievements during the graduation ceremony, when they officially become professional Young Bakers is particularly heart warming and will stay with me for a long time. Many of them will develop into very competent professionals and if you have lived in Shanghai for a while you probably have enjoyed bread or pastries prepared by one of our graduates or interns.
I am very grateful that I was able to participate in the wonderful organisation that is Shanghai Young Bakers and wish the best to everyone at SYB and to the many future generations of Young Bakers. I will miss Shanghai Young Bakers.