Wednesday, April 01, 2015

JOMA - a social enterprise

We met the owners of this restaurant chain in Vientiane many years ago. It was originally called "Healthy And Fresh" but the locals found it too difficult to pronounce. The new name uses the first letters of each of the four owner's names and is a lot catchier. 
It is also a social enterprise, which means that the business finds young people at risk of getting into crime or other poverty related trades, and trains them in life skills along with the skills required in the hospitality industry. A different way of doing development work. The business has expanded into Cambodia and Vietnam with multiple locations in each country.

We went there after dark. We had our main course on the upstairs patio and dessert next to the street.
Erik has really fond memories of this place from Laos, as it offers western food, which was very difficult to find in Laos in those days.
After a hot day, the breeze on the patio felt very refreshing.

In Cairo, we recently met a couple running a social enterprise coffee shop and spoke to them about our memories of JOMA.  It turns out, they have heard of JOMA's successful work.