WATCH | In Malaysia, refugees are cooking up economic empowerment with homemade meals

There are approximately 26 million refugees across the world who have had to flee hostile environments. But for those seeking asylum, the challenges don’t end there.

In Malaysia, refugees have no legal status and cannot gain employment. While volunteering, Kim Lim saw the overwhelming struggles of refugees who can’t financially sustain themselves.

Children were dropping out of school in search of part-time work to support their families.

So Lim began empowering families to earn an income through homemade meals.

She co-founded PichaEats, an organisation that purchases traditional dishes from refugees who cook from home.

Lim’s team buys, packages, and delivers these meals to customers. It creates a stable income for households that have few options for employment.

PichaEats handles the logistics and transport to make it as easy as possible for their chefs.

They also provide the relevant training for food safety to ensure they may continue to work in the industry.


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“Hopefully one day when they get resettled, they can use all these skills and experiences to continue their lives and empower other people,” Lim says.

By enabling refugees to earn an income, Lim and her team are creating a network of social and economic support.

“We did not see them as refugees in the first place, they were just humans who needed help,” Lim says. “We created that platform so refugees could stand up, have a voice, and gain a second opportunity for themselves.”