Resident Feature: Michelle Dean, a doting mother, a philanthropist
Updated: Nov 27, 2020
Many residents know Michelle as a loving mother, yet many don't know the loving mother is also giving her time to a social enterprise supporting and empowering women in Yangon. Michelle Dean, tells us why she is driven to support Yangon Bakehouse, a Non-Profit Social Enterprise programme and training bakery.
Q: How did you get involved with Yangon Bakehouse?
A: From working closely with Cavelle Dove, one of the founders of YBH, in a previous job role, I learnt a lot more about the Social Enterprise side of the organisation and the opportunities and empowerment the programme provides for disadvantaged and disabled women to change their lives around.
With these times being difficult for everyone, I decided to reach out and offer support in any way possible, to ensure that the programme can continue for the many women in need of this life changing opportunity.
Q: Tell us a little bit more about the Social Enterprise Programme that Yangon Bakehouse offers.
A: YBH started In 2012 with the aim to empower women in difficult circumstances in Myanmar through life skills and vocational skills training to be able to find dignified work opportunities, and build a sustainable future for their families and communities.
The apprenticeship programme they offer is designed to enable disadvantaged and disabled women to gain critical life and job skills, build back their dignity, give them hope for the future and to be confident to move into the food and hospitality workforce as employees and small business owners. As a non-for-profit enterprise all sales are directly invested back into the training program, and almost all of their products are made from local, quality ingredients, investing back into other Myanmar small businesses.
Q What does the apprenticeship involve?
A: The apprenticeship program is 7 months in total, and throughout this time with NGO partners and YBH trainers, the women are educated in areas that we take for granted learning as we grow up, such as; sexuality, reproductive health, cancer awareness, gender & gender based violence, women’s rights and many, many more.
For job skills, the women spend their first 3 months in the classroom covering topics ranging from IT and English, to more industry specific kitchen hygiene, cooking methods, proper food storage, recipe reading and more.
They then spend the remaining 4 months practicing their skills, in either the YBH catering production facility, or one of the YBH cafes that we all know and love! After graduating, YBH then helps them to secure permanent employment with partners in the food and hospitality sector. The training is provided free of charge and the apprentices receive a living wage, as they would not be able to attend training otherwise. After graduation, on average the women receive a 400% increase in their earnings from before the program, which is life changing for them and their families.
In support of working with YBH I coordinate a ‘Free Friday Delivery’ for anybody who would like to order bakery provisions for the weekend! These include; bread/bagels/rolls, sweet & savory treats, British pies & sausage rolls to name a few.
If you’re not in the Pun Hlaing Community Whatsapp group and wish to make an order, please feel free to message Michelle on +959954776846 to be included in the weekly ordering.