Sarnelli House bakery

In the midst of all the bad news and fear around the world at the moment, a small group of girls at Sarnelli House are brightening the days of the other children through cakes, biscuits, bread, jellies and other sweet treats. The Sarnelli House bakery has been up and running for a couple of years now and is proving to be a huge success. It is run by Ms. Tan who loves baking and has passed on her passion to her proteges.

The bakery building was once owned by the Good Shepherd Sisters and used for handmade crafts created by local women. The sisters moved their business to another part of Nong Khai and Fr. Mike purchased the building, after some tough negotiations with an Irish nun! The bakery was fitted out with donations from friends of Sr. Dominic, an Infant of Jesus nun from Khon Kaen. Sr. Dominic was once a cooking and baking teacher and she came to visit Sarnelli House every month to teach Ms. Tan and some of the kids the basics of baking.

Some of the initial interest waned but a small team of bakers has emerged in the past 12 months. The trio spend every Saturday or Sunday afternoon in the bakery, making cupcakes, bread, biscuits, jellies, cakes, pancake and desserts. Everything is made in large quantities and all of the houses get enough so that each child has a treat. Birthday cakes are also ordered by the staff at the end of a week or month and cakes are also made for special occasions, like parties in the hall.

The three girls love their work and are involved in every step of the process, from measuring and mixing to delivery to the houses. They take great pride in their contribution and love to hear feedback about their creations. Not all of the kids at Sarnelli House flourish at school and for one or two of the three bakers, baking has led to a great boost in confidence and the development of extremely useful new skills. Thai people love sweet things so, as well as being fun and good for self-esteem, this project could be very practical when it comes to thinking about future careers.

For now though, we are just grateful for a steady supply of delicious sweet treats. And very proud of Ms. Tan and the girls for all of their hard work.

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