Yangon Bakehouse upskills Myanmese women to start their own businesses

A coffee shop in Yangon empowers disadvantaged women in Myanmar with its food and beverage training programme.

From the Series

Yangon Bakehouse is a training café in Myanmar that runs an apprentice programme for underprivileged local women. Canadian Kelly Macdonald is an expat who had been living in Yangon for eight years before she acquired a grant from The Asian Foundation to set up the Bakehouse in 2013. Since then, the company has expanded to three locations.

The majority of the 38 per cent of women working in Myanmar are unskilled, and it’s Yangon Bakehouse’s primary goal to change this.  

“We have a vision of a Myanmar where every woman is able to earn an honest living and participate in her economic community,” says co-founder Heatherly Bucher.

The ten-month food and beverage programme is run from the Yangon Bakehouse restaurants – popular expat coffee shops that sustain the training course. The apprenticeship gives disadvantaged women the opportunity to learn various hospitality job skills needed in cold kitchen, bakery, front-of-house and barista professions. In addition to this, the women are taught standard kitchen skills, hygiene routines, basic English and how to manage their financial income.

After graduation, the women are placed for employment in the food and beverage industries or assisted in the establishment of their own small businesses.