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Benevolent Baker Touches Netizens’ Hearts

Updated: 2020-08-16

Uwe Brutzer (Wu Zhengrong) teaching hearing-impaired workers to bake. Photo: VCG

A video of a German man who opened a bakery in China employing workers who have impaired hearing went viral on social media on August 11, touching thousands of Chinese netizens. The video has had over 30,000 comments and over 110 million views.

Many have promised to support his business and praised his kindness in the comments. "I will definitely go and get some bread," said mengmengdaxiangjiaojun, and the comment received 12,000 likes on China's Twitter-like social media platform Sina Weibo.

"I really love this way of helping people. They are paying attention to a socially vulnerable group while teaching them how to make money by themselves. In other words, they are making a real contribution to our society," said another comment from a Chinese netizen, which has received 4,483 likes.

"That's the real humanitarianism and internationalism!" another netizen wrote. 

After the video was published, Uwe Brutzer's bakery was soon crowded with people from all over the country. "It's the busiest day since the store opened, but I think it's temporary." Brutzer said to the Global Times, "Things will get back to normal soon."

Born in Germany, Uwe Brutzer (Wu Zhengrong) and his wife Dorothee Brutzer (Du Xuehui) came to China 18 years ago. He opened a bakery in Changsha in 2011 to help local people with impaired hearing. 

Brutzer started to learn Mandarin in 1997, and he and his wife came to China as part of a program by the Hunan Disabled Person's Federation to help children with impaired hearing in 2002. "It's my destiny," said Brutzer. "I was looking for a chance to help disabled people and I saw this program." The couple decided to stay after spending some time with children here. To better help children in need, they learned Chinese sign language as well.

"When I was working at the Disabled Person's Federation, I saw there were some art training programs for people with disabilities to choose and they all did a great job. Then when we decided to open a store, we found a bakery might be the best option because they can make more money compared to selling flowers or paintings," Brutzer said. "I hired a professional German baker and invited her to China to teach my students for four years." A child they had helped years ago is now one of the workers in the bakery. 

There are seven bakers aged from 20 to 40 years old working in the store and two of them are interns, Brutzer told the Global Times.

The cut in income was the biggest challenge for Brutzer during the coronavirus outbreak. He had to close the store due to safety concerns but he still paid all the workers as usual. "We closed our store in January and we had no income," said Brutzer. "We reopened the store on February 24, and restored the dining option on May 24."

"I want to stay in China as long as I can and teach more and more disabled people so that they can make a living here. I also wish that more and more foreigners can join me to help these children in need," Brutzer added.

Source:  Global Times