Fresh Bread, fresh start

Updated: 2013-04-15 15:33

By Cang Wei and Song Wenwei (China Daily)

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In Nanjing, a good baker earns at least 7,000 yuan a month, according to general manager Zhu.

The bakery also faces challenges other bakeries do not have.

"Amity Bakery cannot provide products with new flavors frequently, nor can it use advanced machines to improve efficiency," Zhu says.

"The mentally challenged people, even after receiving training, are still unable to see through the whole process of making bread. They can only do simple things and do them much slower than ordinary people."

To strike a balance between commerce and charity is Zhu's priority.

Zhou Hongwei, director of the bakery's sales and marketing department, raises another issue.

"Some people still cannot accept the food produced by mentally challenged people. With so many difficulties and the high tax rate, we don't know how far the bakery can go as a social enterprise," Zhou says.

The initial purpose of establishing the bakery - to enable mentally challenged people to work for other companies after they master enough skills - has also failed.

Fu, who has acquired relatively good baking skills, has not been accepted by any other companies or institutions.

"Chinese laws have provisions for companies and government-affiliated institutions to hire mentally challenged people, but few comply with it," says Zhang.

"They are afraid that hiring mentally challenged people may cause accidents. Some companies even choose to pay these workers "Many people still discriminate against them. The purpose of the Amity Bakery project is to let the mentally challenged people live their potential, and let the public know about their capabilities."

Fresh Bread, fresh start

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