Mexicans are among the biggest consumers of sweet bread in the world. Everyone has their favorite sweet bread and it is hard to walk by more than two streets without coming across a bakery.

María* a young girl from the CEMEPA Center (Mexico City’s center for services for youth on release) came up with an idea: to create a new bakery workshop here so she and her peers could learn how to bake. It had always been a dream of hers to become a baker and she was determined to achieve her dream.

The center had a space and some baking equipment they could use. There was a baking chef providing classes in another juvenile detention center and was willing to help these youths too. The only problem: there wasn’t a sufficient budget to cover the ingredients for the class. JJAI was informed of this situation and we mobilized quickly to support Maria’s dream.

Through a donation of ingredients and baking materials, the workshop was up and running in no time. Two boys and another girl joined the workshop after seeing the delicious concoctions that María was creating. On June 17, we were invited to a demo presentation where the children baked cookies, sweet bread, empanadas and even a big fruit tartlet to later be sold to us and all the guests invited to this event.

Afterward, we got to sit down and talk to all the participants of the workshop and their teacher. All the children said it was so much fun to learn a new skill and that they see themselves working in the food industry soon. María would like to open her own bakery one day. This whole experience taught her what she is capable of when she puts her mind and determination to it. Her almond cookies will surely become a bestseller.

*Names are changed to protect the children’s identity.