#TheGoodTravel: Traveling For Good in Myanmar (Part 1)

With the increased ability to travel around the world, how can we make our miles count?

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Together with Actxplorer, The Hidden Good set off on a mission to uncover and learn from meaningful initiatives beyond Singapore! We have recently launched the first two installations of The Good Travel Series, and if you haven’t checked them out, here’s a sneak peek!

LinkAge: Enabling children

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‘Through the street kids we train, we see their capabilities — they have a free mind, free spirit. If you can just help them a little bit, they can go very far.’ – Khin, LinkAge

Opened in 2011, LinkAge is very different from an ordinary restaurant — not only does it serve food, it also serves up heart and soul. The cafe trains some of Myanmar’s ‘street children’, or in other words, at-risk youth who might not have a roof over their heads. Khin, the founder, tells us about how the restaurant teaches these kids useful life skills such as how to cook and serve customers and even a little bit of English. Beyond granting them these life skills, the project also reaches out to establishments to find jobs for the youth.

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“They are not judged, they are not forced here.” – Khin, LinkAge

For Khin, working with ‘street children’ is more about personal connection than anything else. For instance, LinkAge makes it a point to follow up with each child even after securing them a job. She admits that it can be difficult to work with the youth, noting that ‘being in a centre, obeying rules can be suffocating’ to these street-smart, independent kids. Yet, her policy is one of openness which means that all the youth under LinkAge’s wing have come of their own volition, and they are also free to leave if they please.

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“When we are in need, if there is a helping hand, we can make the effort ourselves and grow [from it]. That’s why I want to help others who were in the same situation as I was” – Khin, LinkAge”

Above all, Khin hopes that LinkAge’s work will not only have a tangible impact on these youth’s lives but also change the perception of homeless children in Myanmar. By seeing them as individuals who have their own sense of agency and not resorting to the unforgiving assumption that they are common criminals, it fosters a sense of mutual respect.

‘if you accept an individual as he or she is, if you respect them, they can do something really good.’ – Khin, LinkAge

ChuChu: The Beauty of Waste

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‘All the waste are lying on the road. It won’t become a product. This is a joke. We don’t believe [it].’ – Wendy Neampui, ChuChu

ChuChu’, a Myanmar expression of plastic bags, derives its name from the sound of plastics rubbing. Founded in 2014, the initiative was funded by the European Union and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and co-implemented by the Italian NGO, Cesvi.

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‘We started with an idea of raising awareness of the beauty of waste.” – Friedor Jeske, Project Coordinator

Friedor Jeske first started ChuChu Recycling Project with the intention of raising awareness on the beauty of waste. Not only do they transform trash into unique handicrafts, they also generate job opportunities for school drop-outs and women from low-income families.

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‘I can involve the environment and I can help the low income families as well!” – Wendy Neampui, ChuChu

When Wendy Neampui was first introduced to the project, she thought it would be impossible to repurpose trash into eco-friendly handicrafts. Now, as the managing director of ChuChu, she’s proud that the project is benefiting low-income individuals, all while caring for the environment. She hopes that the project will continue to grow and spark the locals’ interest in recycling.

Keep your eyes peeled for the rest of The Good Travel’s installations that will be released in the months to come! If you’ve not checked out these two videos yet, check them out on our facebook here!

[facebook url=”https://www.facebook.com/thehiddengood/videos/1872853233021025/” /]
[facebook url=”https://www.facebook.com/thehiddengood/videos/240788636629185/” /]



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