which’s an 80-square-foot kitchen which barely holds three people at a time, yet Jasmina has made thousands of meals, many of them aromatic Rohingya curries, there over the last year.
The cooking is usually a sorely needed source of income, about 2,000 Malaysian ringgit ($490) each month, for the 43-year-old mother of eight, as she is usually a Rohingya refugee by Myanmar who has been living in limbo in Malaysia for more than 20 years.
Jasmina, who declined to give her real name for fear of the authorities, works with Malaysia-based start-up The Picha Project, which operates just like any additional catering service — except which all its chef-partners are refugees.
The young company said which has also achieved profitability — a milestone many start-ups can’t reach — along with also which’s delivered more than 40,000 meals by refugees’ home kitchens.
The Picha Project is usually trying to solve a prickly issue in Malaysia.
While there are more than 150,000 refugees registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) inside the Southeast Asian country, they find themselves in a difficult grey area: They’re allowed inside the country, yet not allowed to work legally.
As a result, poverty is usually endemic inside the refugee community, leaving many vulnerable to exploitative practices.
The financial problems which refugees face prompted an unlikely trio — Kim Lim, a musician; Suzanne Ling, a psychology graduate; along with also Lee Swee Lin, a finance professional — into action.
The young women — Lim is usually 27 while the others are 24 — decided to start the Kuala Lumpur-based company last year with the aim of creating a sustainable source of income for refugees.
The three founders told CNBC which they had observed through volunteering experiences which the children of refugees often dropped out of school because their families had trouble doing ends meet.
While they had previously organized fundraisers, they realized which there were limits to charity. along with also, despite having no prior entrepreneurship experience, they saw a potential business.
“Malaysians all love food. Through food, we can bring the refugee community along with also Malaysians together along with also, at the same time, help them to earn an income,” said Ling.
Their bet has paid off as their fellow countrymen have responded warmly to the company’s unusual food offerings.