The Children of Myanmar
It has been awhile since I’ve shared any updates on the Children of Myanmar, my extended family. It is only because I myself have had an extremely eventful year but it doesn’t mean they have been disregarded at all. No way.
Since we first met them in 2011, so much development has happened and they have really grown so much. We now have a Youth Centre in Yangon (managed by our dedicated Malaysian friend, Eileen Lui) that serves as a stepping stone for the children who have limited interest in furthering their education.
This year in February, these children were taught how to run a soya bean making business. Soya bean to nourish and provide more nutrition to the very poor children around Myanmar (there are over 100 homes that seriously need nutrition).
The youth centre of 800 square feet on the ground floor of a flat dwelling called Yen Niew Housing, houses 5 boys who are in charge of running this Soya Bean business called SoyAi. The rental of this place is USD 850 per month. Other costs include utilities and food, supplies and machinery for the production of Soya Bean milk.
The boys wake up at 5am each morning 7 days a week (yes, no rest!) to start washing the beans, 2kg at a time because that is the capacity of the machine that we lugged over from KL. The yield of 2kg makes 36 bottles of 350ml and the entire process of cooking 6kg of soya beans to make just 108 bottles is 3.5 hours from start to end. After the washing of the beans, they hand pick out any rotten beans and grind them. Whilst the beans are being cooked, they sterilise the bottles and prepare stickers for dating the bottles, and then start bottling them up after they have cooked and cooled and triple sieved. Straight into the fridge they go until it is time for delivery to the orphanages. They can only fit 100 bottles into a cooler box for one taxi delivery and after delivery, they take the bus back with their empty cooler box. If the delivery to any one home is more, the customer pays for extra transportation fees. Taxi fare in Myanmar is about USD 2 for every 10km.
Each SoyAi bottle in helping the Children of Tomorrow costs USD 0.50 or 500 Kyat. We have corporate sponsors buying them per annum for orphanages of their choice, or individual sponsors. If you would like to help build the future of the Children of Myanmar, please contact me or go to their Facebook page (children of tomorrow) to make your order. In all these sales that are entirely managed by these 5 boys as a team under the guidance of Eileen, 30% goes back to the younger children for education, 30% goes to the development of the SoyAi team (for example if they want to take up specific courses or decide to study again), 30% goes back into the business for supplies, wages and upkeep, and the remaining 10% are profit sharing between the boys for all their very hard work. It is bloody hard work.
Last weekend alone, the boys managed to secure a booth at a popular shopping mall and were busy with a target of 1,200 bottles to sell. T1 helped them for 2 hours and was hungry and exhausted already. I told her that these boys had until 10pm to sell them….from 9am to 10pm, with 3 boys at the booth and 2 at home making the soya bean. It is a whole days work to make 600 bottles. That is 7-8 hours work. The difficult part is actually selling these bottles to the general public as not everyone is charitable nor likes soya bean milk. If they do manage to sell the entire batch of 600 bottles though then it will be success!!!! But even then, do you know that after working really hard, the boys get to save a maximum of RM100-150 a month?
But at least it is money that has come from their own hard work and not from pure donations and begging off the streets. There are still underaged children in Myanmar who are bought by restaurant owners who are made to work 16-18 hour days and then locked up in cages for fear they run away. Yes, really.
So I would so appreciate it if you could pledge some nutrition to the orphans in Myanmar at the same time you support the SoyAi team who work tirelessly just to build a better future for themselves. It is USD 0.50 per bottle of Soya Bean, cheaper and fresher not to mention better quality than you buy them here in KL from your local soya bean van vendor, and you get to help the Children of Myanmar build a better future for themselves.
I’ve personally tasted this fresh soya bean made by them and it is very, very good. If you do not believe me, come over to Yangon to see this all for yourselves. Just look how far they have come.
I am so, so very proud of them!!!