As of July 2019, the UNHCR reports over 178,000 registered refugees living in Malaysia with more than a quarter of that number being children below the age of 18.
When founders Suzanne Ling, Kim Lim and Lee Swee Lin (pictured from left to right) put PichaEats (previously The Picha Project) together, they had one goal.
“The sole purpose of the company is to enable the marginalised community an opportunity to gain a sustainable living with dignity,” Kim Lim, co-founder of PichaEats explains. “The idea is to assist refugees who have no rights to work in Malaysia in gaining a sustainable living through our platform where they are able to showcase their culinary skills and sell their products to customers,” Kim continues.
PichaEats aims to serve you great food. While you enjoy the delicious cuisines, you’re also helping refugee families rebuild their lives, regain their dignity, and provide for their family.
The menu ranges from Iraqi falafels and Palestinian dumplings to shawarmas and biryani rice. Every meal prepared is with authenticity and love!
The pure intentions behind the establishment of the social enterprise did not excuse them from the ruggedness of the world of business though. “Every day is a challenge, sometimes it involves the business or operation side of things, sometimes it will be working with the families we are on-boarding, sometimes it’s the processes that are involved in the business,” explains Kim.
The motto ‘every problem is not without a solution’ is strongly embedded in the culture of PichaEats. Says Kim, “Instead of looking at it as a challenge or problem, we see it as an inconvenience. Which means it’s still solvable but just requires a bit more time and effort.”
LEADING BY EXAMPLE
The impact left by PichaEats has garnered international attention as it was listed in Forbes Asia’s 30 under 30 in the social enterprise category. When speaking about organisations Kim wishes to emulate, she was quick to respond with other social enterprises. “Chobani (American yoghurt producer), GK Enchanted Farm from the Philippines and Change Please from the UK are businesses we look up to because they have a very strong cause as well as understand the importance of business for sustainability,” the young entrepreneur says.
Spend time to understand the issue deeply, spread positive stories of refugees on social media, volunteer your time to teach refugee kids vocational or language skills. These will help them a long way,
We also asked her what other ways we can help the cause of refugees.
“Spend time to understand the issue deeply, spread positive stories of refugees on social media, volunteer your time to teach refugee kids vocational or language skills. These will help them a long way,” she urges.
We can expect to see PichaEats venturing into new areas while keeping food at the heart of it all. “We are looking into venturing into tourism and events . We hope to curate more exciting experiences through food to cater to a much wider audience,” Kim concludes.
Hosting a party soon? Get PichaEats to cater to your party! Check out their menu here.