Social Enterprise: Bayin
Tagline: Going off the eaten track
Location: Dublin, Irealand and Yangon, Myanmar
Contact: John Jenkins, Katrina Crawford & Ye Kyaw Zin (Joe)
What is Bayin all about?
We export food produce from rural areas of Myanmar and give back 10% of our profits to the local schools from where we source. Our initial products are Cold Pressed Sesame and Peanut Oils.
How long have you been operating?
We started selling our oils in August 2015, but it was 2 years before that we started the idea.
Where did the idea start?
The idea started during the honeymoon of John & Katrina in Myanmar – the country from where John’s Grandmother was from. They were trekking through the rural areas of Myanmar and had taken books and pencils for the schools on the way. After donating the items to schools, they stayed with rural families and farmers. They had asked them about where they could buy the products in Europe. They were told that due to sanctions they had been unable to sell their farming produce outside of Myanmar.
They had met with their new friend Ye Kyaw Zin (Joe) and his wife Jasmine and discussed their idea to export food produce from Myanmar whilst giving back to the locals schools. Joe explained about the village from where his family were from producing Cold Pressed Sesame and Peanut oil and the idea was born.
John and Katrina have returned to Myanmar a number of times and have set up an export company with Joe and Jasmine and have begun their journey of giving back.
We have always thought that if every business was to give back 10% of their profits the world would be a better place.
How do TOWNHALL Citizens or visitors get involved? Are you open to collaboration – if so, what kind?
We’re always open to the idea of collaborating, whether it’s with other food companies or others travelling to Myanmar. If anyone knows of any retailers that would like to stock our products we would love to hear from them.
Do you have any success stories?
We have retuned to the school in Myin Sine Village to give back books, pencils, footballs, t-shirts and food for the school. It’s a place that we see as being very lucky to be able to spend time. The villagers are hugely generous with everything and always look after us. But the children are an immense amount of fun to be around. Playing games and smiling. It’s something we always look forward to.
We have also worked with the UN. This has been to explain how we have achieved being the first to export food produce from Myanmar to help others export from the poorer area’s and help them grow.
Any interesting fact you can share?
We are also proud to say that we are the first to export food produce from Myanmar to Europe since the sanctions were lifted – possibly everywhere outside of Southeast Asia.
This hasn’t been an easy journey, but the passion to help others has motivated us to continue to achieve our goals of seeing our products on the shelves in Europe.
We were even told by the World Trade Organisation that it wasn’t possible to export from Myanmar and that we shouldn’t even try.
What’s the overall vision for Bayin?
Bayin would like to grow the range of products, giving other farmers a chance to grow. This will also increase our ability to give back more. The plan is to put more money into the rural schools and help some of the children onto further education.
If others can see what Bayin has achieved it may encourage more businesses to export food from Myanmar, but also making sure they pay a fair price and see that giving back can be something so rewarding.
What’s your ‘why’?
John had always wanted to see where his grandmother was from but hadn’t expected it to have such a profound affect on him. Both John and Katrina fell in love with the country the people and the food. Whilst Myanmar isn’t a wealthy country, the generosity of the people really made them feel welcome and humbled.
Joe, Jasmine, Katrina and John all believe they can make a huge positive impact on the poorer area’s by giving them a fair price for their produce and giving back to children education.
There is a huge amount of pride in Bayin having achieved something that they were told was not possible, plus seeing that they can actually make a difference.
Anything else you’d like to add or that you think we should know?
We are a fairly new organisation with a lot to learn and improve, with big visions and goals for the future. We are always looking for new people who believe what we are fighting for is worth it and would like to add bright ideas and drive to the organisation.