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Giving Back

Sampan Travel strives to be a responsible business with a social conscience, treading lightly and working in synergy with the communities, wildlife, and environment of Myanmar. In addition to the monthly donations we make to monasteries, orphanages, animal shelters and other organisations for the needy in Yangon, when curating our journeys we prioritise collaborating with organisations that support and enhance the region in which they work, whether that be through employment and training opportunities, the maintenance of tangible and intangible cultural heritage, or their own CSR projects.

We like to encourage our clients to likewise give back to this country – however often they require no encouragement from us at all! Below we have listed a handful of organisations that work tirelessly at improving the wellbeing of the people and natural environment of Myanmar.

We encourage everyone who comes to Myanmar to have a look at these organisations, and in addition to witnessing their work in action as part of a journey through the country, make a donation to their worthy cause.

LinkAge Vocational Training Restaurant


LinkAge Vocational Training Restaurant

LinkAge is a vocational training restaurant that trains marginalized youth – they are taken under the wing of the restaurant to be trained both in kitchen and service; additionally, LinkAge provides children and students with English language lessons, and education on personal health and finance.

Not only is LinkAge a great benefactor of Myanmar’s most vulnerable, it also serves some of the best food in Yangon. The restaurant is hidden away on Seik Kan Thar Street in the heart of Downtown Yangon. If you aren't looking for it, it is unlikely that you will find it. The menu serves up traditional Burmese and Southeast Asian inspired dishes, small and simple and utterly divine. The atmosphere is free of pretension and ostentation: local artwork adorns the wall inducing the feeling that you are being entertained in someone's bright and cosy dining room. Your waiters will offer you top-notch service.

To ensure that a trip to LinkAge is incorporated into your Yangon itinerary, get in touch at enquiries@sampantravel.com. For more information about how you can support LinkAge in addition to eating at the restaurant, please contact the coordinator Ma Khin at forever.hu.dev@gmail.com. You can also read the interview that Sampan Travel conducted with Ma Khin here.

Pass It On


Pass It On - Hla Day & Third Story Project


Hla Day is a social enterprise working with Myanmar artisans, disadvantaged groups, and small local businesses to design, develop and sell quality handmade products with a contemporary twist.

The Third Story Project is a non-profit social enterprise creating books for Myanmar children in Burmese and other indigenous languages. The books, written and illustrated by local artists, cover a range of key topics for children and are distributed throughout the country free of charge.

These two organizations have now come together to run the Pass it On campaign. Tourists in Myanmar can purchase a Third Story Project book to give to a child they may encounter later on in their travels. Alternatively, it is possible to purchase a book and place it in the shop’s book bin and the Hla Day team will pass it on for you. Finally, for 48, 000 Kyat (roughly 35 US$) you can pay for a ‘Library in a Box’ - 22 books, a teacher’s guide book and activity sheet - to be sent to a village in Myanmar.

Situated at No. 81 Pansodan Street, a visit to Hla Day can easily be incorporated into a Yangon day tour.

Yangon Bakehouse


Yangon Bakehouse

Yangon Bakehouse is a non-profit social enterprise in Yangon, operating a 10 month apprenticeship program for Myanmar women. Working under the vision that strong women make for a strong community, the Bakehouse combines meeting the demand for small batch, quality food and the need of strengthening young women in Myanmar that are poverty-stricken and with few marketable skills in the workplace.

The Bakehouse training programme does not merely give women skills in the kitchen, but strives to empower them both economically and socially, providing courses in a variety of life skills such as personal finance, health, and English language. Over 70 students have now graduated from the programme.

Beyond supporting the enterprise by dining at the cafe, it is also possible to make a donation and personally sponsor one of the students. For more information, please get in touch with the Bakehouse at giving@yangonbakehouse.com.

Kuthodaw Library


Kuthodaw Library

The Kuthodaw Library was Bagan’s first library, set up in 2008 by Win Thuya, himself born and raised in Bagan. After being given a dictionary by his uneducated father when a boy, books became Thuya's passion. When living in Yangon as a young man he began amassing second hand books from the open air stalls in Yangon, eventually returning to Bagan with over a thousand to set up the library.

Now run by his sister Ma Phyo, the Kuthodaw Library can be visited at Sein Pann Street in New Bagan. The Library holds seminars, workshops and lessons promoting Burmese and English literature and language. Visitors are welcome to visit and Ma Phyo holds half-day Burmese cooking classes in her house next to the library.

Kuthodaw Library also supplies books to spin off-projects in other villages around Bagan, therefore they are always in need of more! If you wish to visit the Kuthodaw Library and have space in your luggage, any English books written for children or young adults would be greatly appreciated. If you wish to incorporate a visit to Kuthodaw Library and / or take part in one of Ma Phyo’s cookery classes, please contact us at enquiries@sampantravel.com.

 

myME

myME mobile classroom, Yangon

When visiting a teashop in Myanmar travellers will likely be served by a young boy or teenager. It is an undesired necessity that many parents from poor villages outside the city must send their children off to work so they can support the family. More often than not, the family becomes dependent upon the child as the main breadwinner. The children work long hours and commonly sleep on the floor of the teashop.

At the forefront trying to tackle the cycle of poverty that these children become caught up in is the myME project.

myME’s vision is that every child in Myanmar has the right to access quality education, a critical step towards alleviating poverty and the abuses associated with child labour. In early 2014 meME began taking busses converted into mobile classrooms to two teashops in Yangon, offering evening classes to sixty of the boys working there. Less than three years later, myME has expanded to serve almost three thousand students across the country. Now teaching not only in busses but also in the teashops themselves, the teachers of myME hold classes on basic literacy, maths and computer and internet skills as well as vocational training in a safe environment where the young workers can gain self-confidence and develop critical thinking skills through innovative, interactive instruction.

For more information, please visit the myME website.