Today, in the green campus of Thu Duc Technology College, La Boulangerie Française (The French Bakery) HCMC held Graduation Ceremony for 17 students of Class 2 & 3 of the school.
On this special day, 17 students shared the joy with their family and friends, their teachers in The French Bakery School and Thu Duc Technology College, as well as volunteer teachers who directly taught them English and Life skills. Some special guests and partners who supported the social enterprise financially and supported the students in their internships/employments also came to congratulate them.
Upon opening, Thi Thuy Van Hardiville, Representative of IECD Vietnam – a French Non-government (NGO) and Non-profit (NPO) organization that initiates the French Bakery project, highlighted the starting point of 17 graduates today: “They came all the way to La Boulangerie Francaise in Ho Chi Minh City from ethnic minorities, from remote areas and from vulnerable backgrounds. None has a clear plan for their future or how they can support themselves and their family.”
( Thi Thuy Van Hardiville, Representative of IECD Vietnam – a French Non-government (NGO) and Non-profit (NPO) organization that initiates the French Bakery project )
On their way to be professional bakers, she recalled: “They have lived here together, waking up at 4:30am for baking classes and completing their last Life skills and English class at 4:30pm every day. They found their passion in professional French baking. They have become more confident and outgoing. And last but not least, they now become the agencies of their own lives.”
Tuong, a student of Class 3, also recalled his first days at school: “Everything is surprising from the beginning. Many times, many of us almost gave up with the classes starting early in the morning and the hard work in the bakehouse. However, thanks to the dedication of all the teachers at school who sympathized and supported us as much as possible, we had great motivation to follow our passion and determination to create a stable career in the future.”
( Tuong, a student of Class 3, laughed looking at himself 2 years ago in a video recap )
Van Trinh, the La Boulangerie Française - HCMC’s Project Manager made a slight joke: “Of course, you did not make our jobs easy, but you were still the reason we did it.” He added: “Witnessing your transformation from reserved students who did not know anything about bakery to the confident and professional bakers of today, we, teachers, are proud of you.”
( Van Trinh, the La Boulangerie Française - HCMC’s Project Manager and Nguyen Thi Ly, Prior Principle of Thu duc Technology College who have been supporting the project with all their hearts )
As a consequence of COVID-19, only 85% (compared to 96% before 2020) of La Boulangerie Française - HCMC can secure jobs in good bakeries, shops, hotels and resorts. Hoa, a student of Class 2 who is now Demi Chef at Maison Marou, congratulated and encouraged her fellows: “With a lot of effort for the last 12 months studying at school and 6 months of practical internship; despite the effect of the pandemic during last 2 years, most of you already started working in official positions. Well done! I also wish all of us, despite difficulties, will continue following our passion and pursuing our bright future in bakery.”
( Hoa, a student of Class 2 who is now Demi Chef at Maison Marou, received her Certification )
As a great supporter of this social responsible project, His Excellency Vincent Floreani, French General Consul in Ho Chi Minh City, highly appreciated the partnership among a French NGO and Thu Duc Technology College, as well as sponsors and financial partners that introduces a passion, a career, a future in French bakery for vulnerable young people in Vietnam and makes it happen, together.
He shared, “Today I also came to celebrate a project that brought us together. Bread making is not just a business; it is also an important form of French culinary heritage. Today, bread is also an important element of Vietnamese culture. Bread is present in every street corner, in the hands of students, adults, the elderly ... Bread is a dish that connects all generations, all classes of the population. It is the common interest of Vietnamese and French people in cuisine that makes this wonderful project happens.”
( His Excellency Vincent Floreani, French General Consul in Ho Chi Minh City congratulated the students )
His Excellency Vincent Floreani congratulated the students: “The 17 students gathered here have found their outstanding foothold in the job market. You work for Bakes Saigon, Maison Marou, MontClair of Annam Gourmet, Vinpearl and Fusion hotels, etc. Prestigious places. These positions of yours demonstrate the excellence of your training at La Boulangerie Française, which is increasingly recognized by professionals as well as the public”.
Mr. Thomas Behaghel, South East Asia Regional Director of IECD, and Mr. Vo Long Trieu, Principle of Thu Duc Technology College then officially awarded the students their well-deserved certificates and wish them the very best in their career.
( Mr. Thomas Behaghel, South East Asia Regional Director of IECD, and Mr. Vo Long Trieu, Principle of Thu Duc Technology College awarded the students their well-deserved certificates )
Flowers, hugs and smiles came after. 17 bakers of tomorrow took photos with their friends, families and teachers and volunteer teachers who equipped them with professional skills, Life skills, and English to become who they are today.
Graduation means separation. 17 students said their goodbyes and see-you-again to one another as Mr. Van Trinh, Project Manager, ensured them “This school is always a home, a family, a team, where you will always be welcomed”.
( Students Class 2&3 with their volunteer English teachers )
( Nga, a student-become-trainer at La Boulangerie Francaise HCMC bursted into tears and took a photo with her Bakery Teacher Quentin Phillipe and her dear father who came all the way from Dak Lak province )
Established in December 2017, The French Bakery is the incubator of the passionate bakers in French bread and pastry by providing professional knowledge and skills to 20 vulnerable young people all over Vietnam every year.
( Guests attending the Graduation Ceremiony enjoyed the goodies made by La Boulagerie Francaise students )
The school also operates sustainably as a social enterprise: high-quality products made by students during their trainings instructed by French professionals will be sold to businesses and individual customers. The profits generated will be reinvested in the project to cover food, accommodation, healthcare and training needs of students.
The project is 45% sustainable, and aims to be fully self-sustained in coming years.