Reuters: From Malaysia to Myanmar, social ventures build homes and safe spaces


[Featured image – photo courtesy of Kerstin Duell]

In Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon, social venture Doh Eain – which means Our Home – is helping residents conserve older homes, as well as open up public spaces for women and girls.

The company has restored about a dozen old colonial homes, which help families earn a higher income from rent, said Emilie Roell, Doh Eain’s founder.

It has also cleaned up half a dozen back alleys – typically used for dumping trash – and turned them into green spaces where residents can gather and children can play, with crowdfunding and donations, and the involvement of the community.

The initiative is important because it is creating safe spaces for girls and women in a city where violence against women is a growing concern, said Roell.

“Yangon has very few public spaces that people can use. Having access to their own back alleys and safe spaces has led to greater social cohesion, and a change in behavior,” she said.

“It is making them think about the environment they live in, and how they can be involved in it more.”