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Kyiv bakery employs people with mental disabilities

Kyiv bakery employs people with mental disabilities

Lyudmyla and Serhiy are preparing to send off the largest batch of cupcakes in their career. For them it’s a very important moment. A month ago they didn’t believe that they would ever find jobs. Both were diagnosed with developmental disabilities in childhood. But, despite social stigma, they’re good at their jobs.

“I like to bake and do other things here. Different masterpieces, or other things. Cupcakes, muffins, and everything else. They help me too. ‘Good bread for Good people’ is the only bakery in Ukraine which employs people with mental disabilities,” says Kyrylo Smereka, Baker.

“I see that every person with a mental disability is a person who can be the same as us. Our bakery is built in such a way that no one here pities them, does not do them any favors. They are absolutely like people in the norm. The first people we employed were guys who, actually, were not ‘difficult,’ who could commute here. They know how to talk and listen,” says Vladyslav Malashchenko, Founder, ‘Good Bread for Good People” Bakery.

All employees are at least 18 years old. They are legally allowed to work and engage in volunteer activities. Each group of bakery workers is lead by a head baker, who controls the process, helps maintain proportions, and experiments with recipes. Today it’s Kyrylo’s mother, Oksana Smereka:

“Of course, there is a problem among the guys: math is hard for them. They cannot weigh the right amounts for ingredients. They do not understand how much a pound of flour is or 250 grams. They do not understand what a half portion is, or how much it takes to bake 5 muffins or 2. Here, I come in handy.”


“Actually, they all treat each other well, help each other. There is much to learn,” adds Malashchenko.

Serhiy has been working in the bakery for 3 weeks. He believes that everyone living with these types of disabilities can work and benefit others. You just need to find the right approach to help them use their abilities:

“If everything goes well, then in the future I think I’ll go up the steps — up, up, up. As like on the stairs, when school begins. So I’ll go and try. Chef, yes, I want to become a chef.”

For now, people with certain disabilities work here: intellectual disabilities, those on the autism spectrum, and the deaf. But Vlad already plans to significantly increase the staff and expand the network to other major cities of Ukraine.

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