Home > Myanmar > Creating healthy bodies and businesses in Myanmar

For years, Myanmar had been an isolated cut off nation that was difficult to do business with or even travel to. Things have changed. Myanmar (formally known as Burma) is booming these days with the easing of sanctions. International businesses, organizations and governments are rushing into Myanmar to take advantage of new opportunities. Even Canada has opened it’s first ever Canadian embassy.

Yet this growth is bringing it’s share of challenges and the poor are particularly vulnerable. With many businesses and organizations like the UN coming in, the impact has been inflation, homelessness and other strains. The rents have skyrocketed. The communications, roads and infrastructure are still poor. These factors along with communal violence has led some people to want to return to the stability of a dictatorship.

In spite of the uncertainties, it is a great time to be in Myanmar. Our project here, led by the project director Rick Chase, is focused on the health of Myanmar’s children, via an innovative project to distribute soy food processing machinery throughout the country. Rick has helped establish twelve soy milk enterprises (Vitagoat Machines) in the city of Yangon. This is a daily output of 3000 liters of soy milk or about 12,000 serving of protein rich soy milk with potential to create about 70 jobs. Rick will also be setting up a soy milk machine in Maesot Thailand that will supply milk for eight schools. He has also helped create the Healthy Food Company of Myanmar. He is looking for some foreign direct investment to help expand the production to 20,000 bottles per day. If there is any budding social entrepreneurs out there reading this newsletter this might be your opportunity.

Milk for orphanage

Describing the pictures above, Rick writes: One of our newest milk producers is Strongman Soy, I brought some of his milk to an orphanage of about 200 kids in Hmawbii one Sunday (about 1 hour outside of Yangon). The milk was gone in a minute and the kids loved it. We are now looking at raising funds to set up a machine there.

World Vision ECE school

Pictured above is a World Vision ECE school. The kids here get our soy milk and soy crackers (Gna Mohn) everyday. World Vision has reported that the soy milk program here resulted in elimination of severe malnutrition and related illnesses and parents are asking where they can buy milk for the rest of the families. Last month the President of World Vision visited this site, he liked the soy milk so much that we are now working on expanding this project across Myanmar. World Vision has been a big encouragement to me to continue to expand the soy machines.

Nan Oo Orphanage

The photos above were from a recent visit to the Nan Oo Orphanage in the North Okalapa area of Yangon. Originally a separate town it is now an established part of Yangon with limited access to the city’s electricity grid and sewer system. Like most areas in the city, especially in poorer neighborhoods like North Okkalapa, night-time electricity is available once every two or three days. It was a great visit to the orphanage and we distributed soy milk to the children. However, it would be a lot more exciting to set up a Vitigoat machine at this orphanage. If you’d be interested in helping make it possible to set up these machines in schools and orphanages like this, we’d love to hear from you.

A soy farm in Yangon

Rick inspects a soy farm in Yangon. It is indeed, a great time to be in Myanmar.