Malaysian Stories: I Help Refugees Earn A Living In Malaysia

"We went into their homes to visit... it was really shocking for us to see how they lived and suffered there."

Cover image via SAYS

Have you ever wondered how it feels like to lose everything you love and end up in a foreign country with no money, shelter or food?

Rohingya refugees at a detention centre in Langkawi.

Image via AFP/Manan Vatsyayana

It's not something everyone can resonate with, but that's what being a refugee is like, most often. In Malaysia, refugees are not even allowed to work legally, making the situation worse for them.

There are currently 150,845 refugees and asylum-seekers that are registered with the UNHCR in Malaysia. However, refugees in Malaysia do not have access to fundamental rights such as obtaining legal status, lawful employment, formal education, and protection of the Malaysian law, to name a few.

This is because Malaysia is not a party of the 1951 Refugee Convention, nor does it have any legal framework in place to govern refugees and their rights here.

To put it simply, refugees in Malaysia are at a constant risk of arrest, detention, or exploitation. Sadly, the plight of refugees is an unpopular topic in Malaysia. Most often, they are misunderstood and treated as inferiors, but a social enterprise in Malaysia is working hard to change that.

The Picha Project was started by three passionate, young Malaysians with no business background

Fueled by determination and kindness, they have established an organisation that can ensure a sustainable income for a group of refugee families in Malaysia.

Here's how it all started:

We're always on the lookout for more Malaysians with an interesting story to tell. If you know anyone who might fit the bill, here's how you can get in touch with us:

You can either email [email protected], Facebook message us or drop a comment in this story.

More on refugees and the Picha Project:

To better understand the brutalities some refugees have faced in their home countries, read this:

Watch our previous Malaysian Stories entries here: