What is the YangonBakehouse?
Give women a chance. YangonBakehouse needs you to make a difference in women's lives. We are building a sustainable community-supported social enterprise that connects different parts of our community – disadvantaged women, our customers, our partners and sponsors – to make a difference here, now. By providing our apprentices opportunities to learn life and work skills, they gain dignity and confidence to move into the workforce as employees and small business owners.
How will we do all this? By selling amazing baguette sandwiches, salads, and soups to one part of the community, we can change the lives of another part of the community. The Bakehouse's front end business of lunch and light catering service will provide the livelihood skills avenue for our apprentices as well as the long-term operating funds for the program.
How did we start?
YangonBakehouse started when several long-term expatriate women and Myanmar (Burma) business women got together and wondered what we could do to help other women in a lasting way. We saw the need, and we saw a gap in food offerings here in our lovely, growing city. We have contributed our own money and have also received grants and local business sponsor donations, but we need your help to make the program a reality.
What are we doing with the funds?
We are building our production training kitchen and training program. Your contribution will make our kitchen a reality for these women – ensuring they have access to proper equipment, life skills training, and medical / health care. We have leased a centrally located property and are now building the production training kitchen for our apprentices. We are developing a solid kitchen training curriculum covering everything from proper sanitation to front of house skills. Additionally, we are partnering with community organizations to assist our apprentices with skills for life such as safe reproductive and sexual health services, family health and nutrition, personal finances, team work, and English skills (and in some cases Myanmar literacy skills). This comprehensive set of food service skills and personal life skills creates empowered women who can enter the formal work force.
Your money will make this program a reality – and this program will then impact many women as every 6 months a new cohort of apprentices begins while another cohort graduates and gains employment or launches their own businesses through local micro-loan programs.
What We Need & What You Get
Ready for the details? We are practicing what we preach – providing our own money and sweat to make this work for disadvantaged women. And we are asking local businesses to support us monetarily or with in-kind donations, advice and wisdom. But, this is a big task and we need a bit more. Here is how your funds will be used:
- Complete the building of a replicable kitchen training program for our apprentices – a full 8-9 months of everything from industry standards on kitchen sanitation and hygiene to proper food handling and preparation of salads, sandwiches and pastry. The curriculum is translated into Myanmar with full illustrative details for low literacy audiences.
- Finish the outfitting of the production training kitchen and customer space that will, in the future, fund the program and make it self-sustaining. We need to kit this space out with ovens, chillers, burners, work tables, and all the necessary utensils and baking needs. This allows us not only to produce quality products for customers, but to train our apprentices on the same type of kitchen equipment and processes used in the food and beverage industry – important for their long term employment options.
- Create a women's life skills program. We are partnering with and hiring various local professional women and organizations to provide training on key components of empowerment. The program is designed as a journey that starts with each woman's awareness of herself and rights as an individual and progresses to the importance of her role in her family, her ability to contribute to her community, and finally, her power in the larger society. These elements help women hold their place in the world with dignity and confidence. Help us empower women!
Every little bit helps – even if we do not reach our Indiegogo goal, we will continue our efforts to build a sustainable program. Your contributions are critical!
For our apprentices, this program is the difference between making it or not making it, eating or not eating, schooling their children or repeating the cycle of poverty with a new generation. Your contribution keeps these women in the program, off the streets, earning a living wage, and gaining invaluable skills, a new dignity and the confidence to begin again. Our apprentices are esacping extreme poverty, the sex trafficking industry, damaging histories and broken lives.
Can it be better? Yes! Once these women complete our program and gain long-term employment, they share their skills and enrich other people's lives in a similar fashion. Some of our apprentices want to start their own small businesses – eventually creating more job opportunities for others. Most of our women have children, who will be able to complete schooling as well as learn from the example of their mothers. Strong women make strong communities.
Other Ways You Can Help
You can help with more than money. Consider these options as well – every little bit helps the Bakehouse's efforts – we are for the community, by the community!
Make some noise – share our campaign and story with your family, friends and co-workers. Use the Indiegogo share tools or like us on Facebook.
Live in town and want to volunteer your skills, services or sponsor us in another creative way? Contact us to talk more – we have many opportunities for you to be involved.
Coming to visit and have skills you wish to share with us? Maybe you are a fantastic chef or baker or a whiz at product packaging. We can use your talents for a limited time to share with our apprentices while you get to experience another side of Myanmar.
Donate for Someone?
Christmas is almost here! If you want to donate in honor of someone else and have that person receive all the perks and a personal note from the Bakehouse informing of your gift, just let us know when you make the donation. We will take care of the rest for you.
Concern About Donating Online?
We know that sometimes donating online causes concern. We wanted to answer a few questions. First, you can donate using credit card or through PayPal - both are secure (make sure you see the https:// in your URL line). Second, if you use PayPal, you will see that the receiver is "Michael Bucher" - Heatherly's husband - one of the founders. As you know, PayPal accounts and here in country are not exactly friendly right now - so we have set up a verified Premier PayPal account to the yangonbakehouse email address under one of our founders. Rest assured, the money all goes into the Bakehouse's efforts!
If you are local and would rather donate in cash, see one of us!
Thank You to Sponsors/Supporters
Thanks to those who have already supported us and will continue into the future: