The Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) building on Bogalay Zay Street (Brooking Street) yesterday received the Blue Plaque of the Yangon Heritage Trust, in recognition of its importance as one of the city’s architectural landmarks.
The Blue Plaque is the 15th issued under the YHT’s initiative.
The YWCA is the oldest women’s organization in Myanmar and has been serving people from all walks of life with various development projects/programs for women to become empowered and serve the communities as change makers.
Built in 1902, the building on Bogalay Zay Street served the Yangon YWCA after its official recognition in June 1900 as a branch of the Indian National Committee which in turns was affiliated with the World YWCA. In 1921, the United Engineers Ltd was commissioned to build an extension to the premises.
With its member around the country, the YWCA in Yangon held continuous activities such as Bible studies, physical education, recreation, music, home arts, business training and employment services to empower women. Unfortunately, with the war sweeping the country in 1942, all the activities and work process in the YWCA did not have a chance to continue. During the Japanese Occupation, the building on Brooking Street was used as a night club. Only in June 1950 on the association’s Golden Jubilee, the building on Brooking Street was reoccupied.
The Founder and Chairman of Yangon Heritage Trust Dr Thant Myint-U, said “Yangon was one of Asia’s first modern cities. And the YWCA was one of the most dynamic of many Myanmar institutions that shaped this city and this country over the 20th century, through its activities and its prominent personalities such as Mrs Ba Maung Chain.”
“Our cultural inheritance from this uniquely important modern period comes to not only through cinema, art, literature, and music, but dress and food, and in the spaces people inhabited, like this building on Brooking Street that we are recognizing today. It’s a physical link to a special past whose influences are still all around,” he said.
Daw May Tin Oo, President of Yangon YWCA, is proud to have the Blue Plaque on the building. “Yangon YWCA having served over 100 years for the holistic development of women, in accordance with its motto ‘By Love Serve One Another’ is very much honored to have the Blue Plaque of the Yangon Heritage Trust installed at the Yangon YWCA building,” she said.