Explore Yangon’s up and coming social enterprise scene organized by entrepreneurs committed to running a business that makes a positive social impact. Discover several of the city’s diverse townships on a tour that represents Yangon’s many faces. Meet interesting and dynamic people doing what they love to benefit Myanmar’s communities and culture.
An example of the experiences you will enjoy are included below;
‘Amazing Grace’ in Yankin Township – This is a social enterprise training people with hearing and physical disabilities to make handmade fashion accessories using recycled materials. Learn about the business’ social mission before taking part in a 1-hour crafts workshop led by one of the trainers to produce a lovely piece of male or female jewellery to take back home with you as a souvenir with a personal touch. (Note: The workshop is open from Monday to Saturday).
Enjoy a 1-hour massage at Myanmar’s first Shiatsu Centre – ‘Balance’. Opened by a team of deaf students who have been trained to a professional standard, the centre is supported by the Mary Chapman School for the Deaf.
‘LinkAge Restaurant & Art Gallery’ serves delicious Myanmar food on the first floor of a small building in downtown Yangon. It is run by the social development organization Forever Human Development that helps support street children and generates income for a shelter, along with other education and training programs. When the children are old enough they can work as trainees at the restaurant. Stop here to enjoy a delicious lunch!
Spend time browsing the stalls at ‘Hla Day’ – a beautiful crafts marketplace that partners with disadvantaged groups and small local businesses to design, develop and sell quality handmade products with a contemporary twist. There is a wide range of interesting and stylish products suitable for all. On top of that, all profits are reinvested to empower the community of producers, and while browsing you can learn about all of those producers’ stories.
In Chinatown you can choose to visit a gold workshop run by the NGO ‘Turquoise Mountain’ where artisan goldsmiths are making an ethical comeback. There is a reason why Myanmar is nicknamed the Golden Land, the colour is everywhere. However, machine-made jewellery is killing the traditional goldsmith’s craft. This NGO is working with the most skilled artisans from Ramree Island in Rakhine State and here one can learn about their craft and witness their skills up close and personal. (Note: The workshop is open from Monday to Friday).
Enjoy a traditional puppet show at ‘Htwe Oo Myanmar’. The unique show lasts around 1 hour and gives the small audience an opportunity to see the puppeteers work their magic on the stage, as well as time to test their own skills at the end of the performance. Puppet theatres are an important tradition in Myanmar culture and Htwe Oo helps preserve the tradition by creating job opportunities for young puppeteers from universities in Yangon and Mandalay, as well as offering financial and medical assistance to old puppeteers.