Woman entrepreneur Myanmar

In Chaung Ma, a remote village in Myanmar in Mandalay province, lives a 34 years old women, Ma Phyu, who has two jobs. The first one is as a stove producer and the second one as a florist, she grows flowers and sells them according to the seasons.

We should mention that she has more tasks per day than her 2 jobs given that she does the housework and that she is a mother.

She takes care of her 11-year old daughter who is finishing primary school and who helps her mother do housework: “she [her daughter] cleans shrine and offers rice, water and flowers to Buddha. She helps me to wash clothes and sweep, after helping me, she studies, plays with her friends and watch TV.”

For her daughter, Ma Phyu is confident about the future and hopes the best for her:

“I wish her become a Medical Doctor or a University graduate and have a good job and income for her to have a better life. Be a polite and a famous girl that is why I send her school and tuition and teach her properly.”

An independent entrepreneur

She grew up in the countryside, 1 mile from her current home, with her parents who were working as farmers. When she was a child, she went to school up until primary school. She remembers “I liked the English subject, in English I can learn more meanings and new words.”

When Ma Phyu was 20 years old, she began to work for U Pe Thein Stove production. At that time she used to treading the clay with her foot, making grates, filling insulation and then helped with the production center management. She married U Pe Thein after one year and stayed working there until now.

He was quite famous in Myanmar in the stove sector because he had the idea to add a metal bucket to the pot that makes it stronger: “The original A.1 Stove was with the two metal bends. He is the one who started the Bucket (…) that is why his friends made the brand name on the bucket stove as A.1 Pe Thein Stove” explained Ma Phyu.

She inherited the production center after her husband’s death.

Now that she is the owner, her sister in law and brother in law help her to produce cookstoves. But still, they are not enough trained on the whole value chain to become sustainable and cost-efficient as they were when U Pe Thein was the manager. At that time, the production center was able to produce from 3000 to 15000 stoves per year.

To sell the stoves, he was using the transportation network in the region: “(…) he was smart and had a lot of friends, he used to sit here in the road side and make friends with buses, truck drivers and used to make marketing through its friends’ network” said Ma Phyu.

Even if this period is difficult, she doesn’t want to sacrifice her independence: “The most important point is I am doing my own business and I am proud of it, I am not a worker for others.”

Ma Phyu’s expectations towards SCALE

The entrepreneur will be part of the SCALE program to strengthen and increase her knowledge to improve her production center.

“I hope this project will be very helpful for us. At the moment we need to increase our benefits. We borrowed some money with 2% interest per month. I would expect that the project give me the keys to have better benefits and get a technical support to improve the production and the marketing.”

The trainings and workshops for producers will begin in May. The ICS Project Manager from GERES and technical experts will train the SCALE Burmese team. Then, they will be in charge of training the producers in the region to replicate and adapt the good practices and lessons learned from Cambodia.

@StovePlus  - A program by GERES
This project is funded by the European Union, by the FFEM, the Fondation RAJA and the Fondation Lord Michelham of Hellingly