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.