PETALING JAYA: Six-year-old baker Jonah Michio Tan of Jonah Bakes made headlines last year with his plight to search for a proper education due to his rare genetic condition of skeletal dysplasia.
His predicament received the attention of Pastor Robert Wong and other members of the FGA Cheras church, who have recently reached out to Jonah and his mother, Miyumi Yanagi, to connect them to a learning centre capable of helping Jonah receive a proper education.
“We have such caring people and donors from our church who want to help single mothers. So when Jonah’s issue was brought to my attention, we helped connect them to a learning centre where he is currently accepted on a trial basis for a month,” said Wong.
“He is currently undergoing diagnostic tests to observe how comfortable he is, before continuing onwards.”
Robert explained that FGA Cheras is prepared to sponsor half of the tuition fees and the books needed for Jonah.
He also added that Love Cheras Care Services (LCCS), an NGO that does a great deal of community work in Cheras, has agreed to sponsor the other 50% of Jonah’s school fees for the month of January.
“The whole amount for the month of January is sponsored by the church and LCCS. As for the month of February, we will wait and see how comfortable Jonah is with his education,” said Wong.
Jonah’s mother Miyumi told FMT that she is very grateful to those who have supported and helped her son all this time.
“We are very blessed and this means a whole lot to us. Last year, I was worried about how 2021 would fare with Jonah’s schooling.
“It’s amazing to find out that there’s a school that’s not only willing to accept Jonah and provide him with a place where he can learn, but also sponsor him,” smiled Miyumi during a Zoom conference, as she held Jonah in her arms.
But the journey doesn’t just end with Jonah finally starting school. Miyumi has set up some plans to take the baking business to the next level.
“We consider ourselves very lucky to have Jonah Bakes, so we want to use this business as a platform to help those who have a passion for baking but are also different like Jonah.
“We would like them to join us in baking the cookies and maybe Jonah can help during the weekends.”
Miyumi elaborated that her end goal is not only to secure a kitchen but to provide lessons to disabled children who are interesting in baking.
“It won’t be just a kitchen, but a platform to help each other. We are still in the planning stages and are looking for a place to make this happen,” said Miyumi.
To end things on a sweet note, Jonah Bakes has released four new cookies in conjunction with Chinese New Year.
They are the Salted Egg Cornflake cookies, Peanut cookies, Pineapple Tart cookies and the Lucky 8 Vanilla cookies.
According to Miyumi, all these cookies are based on her mother’s recipes. The creative icing on the Lucky 8 Vanilla cookies, in particular, was inspired by Jonah Bakes’ Christmas gingerbread cookies.
Jonah chirped in by saying that the best seller so far has been the very addictive Salted Egg Cornflake cookies, which are crispy cornflakes glued together with lip-smacking golden syrup, baked with salted egg toppings and sprinkled with curry leaves.
The other popular offering, he added, is of course the signature Pineapple Tart cookies.