SPECIAL UPDATE | Bach’s Bakery
On a quiet street in Changsha, you can follow the inviting smells of freshly baked bread and pastries to Bach’s Bakery. This is no ordinary bakery- as well as serving exceptional German baked goods, it is also operated almost solely by hearing impaired people. We are thrilled to announce that ICC will now be affiliated with Bach’s Bakery, as part of our ongoing commitment to social enterprise and the employment of people with disabilities.
Bach’s Bakery was founded over twenty years ago by a German couple, Uwe and Dorothee Brutzer. We first encountered Dorothee as a dedicated, talented speech therapist who worked with children in our Family Partners Programme. When the Brutzers shared their plans to leave China this year, ICC saw an opportunity to continue the wonderful work they had started. A company affiliated with ICC agreed to take over the bakery. Now all we needed was a baker! Providentially, Markus Hofmueller, and his wife Hannah, answered the call, and this Summer they moved from Ningxia province in the north and settled into their new role at the bakery.
Hearing impaired individuals can face unique challenges as they come of age and begin to seek out meaningful employment. They can encounter limited opportunities and social stigma. Bach’s Bakery has trained over thirty hearing impaired apprentices, some of whom have continued to work at Bach’s, while others have gone on to positions in other bakeries and hotels around the country. As well as equipping them with a valuable skill set, the bakery also fosters confidence and independence at a vulnerable juncture in their lives. Young people from ICC’s vocational training program in Changsha experienced this firsthand when they visited on August 4th. They were excited to have some hands-on experience in the kitchen, learning a unique style of baking that challenged them and ignited their creativity.
To further deepen the partnership between ICC and Bach’s Bakery, our Little Ark food trucks will now also be selling the bakery’s delicious treats. While the bakery operates as a financially independent social enterprise and does not provide or receive financial support from ICC, our affiliation is part of our wider mission to create opportunities for people with disabilities, so that they may live fulfilling lives in a welcoming society that accepts and respects them.