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Transforming lives in the streets of Yangon

Transforming the lives of vulnerable children affected by extreme poverty and living on the streets of Yangon starts with a period of ’emptying’.

LinkAge Social Enterprise Restaurant based in the heart of the city trains young people to cook and wait-on in a bid to move them into mainstream hospitality. But before that can begin it can take up to seven months to rebuild confidence, trust and the capacity to learn.

As part of the Social Enterprise World Forum study visit to Myanmar, our group dined at this truly inspiring and uplifting enterprise and heard first hand just what it takes to change the lives of children; many of whom have been abused and have absolutely nothing to call their own. The cramped yet colourful premises are tucked away away up a set of steep stairs directly off the bustling Seikkantha Street. Serving traditional Burmese food, the space not only acts as a place of work but also home for many of the young men and a source of education for those outside the state system.

Having driven through the streets of the country’s largest city known previously as Rangoon and home to 5.1M people, there’s a clear and significant need for this and other social enterprises to transform lives. The city is undergoing something of a cultural and architectural transformation but it’s the lives of the young people that live in its streets that are being rebuilt courtesy of LinkAge. The quality of the food and service were tremendous but it’s the smiles on the faces of those involved that tell the true story of the enterprise’s impact.