This NGO In Malaysia Empowers Refugees With Hair Cutting, Baking, Sewing Skills & More

It's time to talk about those who have limited access to basic human rights.

Cover image via @shopxdignity (Instagram) & @sewxdignity (Instagram)

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Many refugees living in Malaysia today don't have the same legal rights as Malaysian citizens

They are usually not able to be employed, study, or access medical care, as laws in Malaysia still consider them as undocumented migrants. Consequently, they often live in precarious conditions, facing the risk of detention, exploitation, and discrimination.

The Dignity for Children Foundation, a non-profit organisation located in KL, operates what they call 'Transformational Enterprises' for refugees and the underprivileged.

These are businesses with a social purpose that provide training and work experience for underprivileged youth, while also offering goods and services to the community.

The programme offers more than just job skills; it also provides mentorship and support to help people grow personally and professionally

The enterprises address a need in the community by providing services, such as haircuts, baked goods, and handmade crafts, among others.


While refugee children are prohibited from attending schools due to legal restrictions, the Dignity for Children Foundation provides crucial support by offering alternative education programmes for these children.

The foundation operates on the belief that everyone should have an equal opportunity to access quality education, to be loved and cared for, and to be able to play freely.

Over the past 24 years, more than 12,000 children and youths have benefited from the NGO's education programmes.

sew X dignity

This programme empowers youth and women with design, sewing, and entrepreneurship skills.

They offer programmes like the STEP Programme, which annually trains 40 students in sewing, and the Women Train Women Programme, which equips refugee mothers with sewing skills for future employment.

After acquiring these skills, they can apply them to create handmade products that are sold online or available at the eat X dignity café in Sentul Boulevard.

Whether you're searching for a holiday, birthday, or corporate gift, the enterprise crafts beautiful totes, pouches, art prints, clothing, passport holders, and various other items from scratch.

Check out these cute ang pow clutches they made and sold during Chinese New Year.

cut X dignity

cut X dignity is a hair salon with a twist: it provides haircuts and other hairdressing services to the public while also serving as a training ground for disadvantaged youth.

Under the guidance of experienced stylists, youths learn and develop their skills through practical experience.

The salon offers a variety of services for men, women, and children, including haircuts, washes and dries, colouring, treatments, and braiding.

You can enjoy a great haircut or style at a reasonable price, all while supporting a worthy cause.

bake X dignity

At bake X dignity, young people from underprivileged and refugee communities acquire valuable baking skills and entrepreneurial exposure, positioning them for future careers in the food industry.

The bakery offers a delectable selection of baked goods, ranging from cookies and brownies to cakes and pastries.

All profits from bake X dignity directly fund the education of over 2,200 children at Dignity for Children Foundation.

If you're craving delicious baked goods and wish to support a good cause simultaneously, you can place an order online for delivery or visit their outlet in KL to experience their treats firsthand.

Image via Bake x Dignity

make X dignity

Another social enterprise under the Dignity for Children Foundation's 'Transformational Enterprises', make X dignity focuses on empowering individuals through woodworking.

Their workshops provide training in woodworking skills, equipping young people with a valuable trade and the ability to create beautiful handcrafted pieces.

Prioritising eco-friendly approaches, the enterprise utilises upcycled wood and practises zero-waste production methods, minimising environmental impact while crafting something new.

The workshops are often facilitated by passionate alumni woodworkers who have graduated from the programme themselves.

You can purchase handcrafted items from make X dignity. 

Similar to the other enterprises, 100% of the profits from make X dignity contribute towards funding the education of over 2,200 children at Dignity for Children Foundation.

eat X dignity

eat X dignity presents a delectable menu featuring fresh, locally-sourced, and healthy meals prepared with care by their student trainees.

The restaurant doubles as a training ground for underprivileged youth and refugees, providing them with valuable skills in food preparation, customer service, and the hospitality industry, paving the way for future careers.

If you'd like to enjoy a meal, here's where eat X dignity is located:
25-G, Jalan 11/48a,
Sentul Raya Boulevard,
51000 Kuala Lumpur

Opening hours
8am - 9pm (Tuesday - Sunday)

Image via Eat x Dignity

Dignity for Children Foundation also has art and wellness enterprises.

The art enterprise allows self-expression through artwork, while the wellness unit offers mental health services like psychological assessments, counseling, psychotherapy, and play therapy for students and the community.

Their grow X dignity is a budding enterprise focused on transforming unused urban locations like rooftops into green spaces that are fruitful.

Students work in teams to plant, germinate, tend, and harvest various crops including leafy vegetables, Malaysian fruits and local herbs and ulam.

You can support any of the enterprises by purchasing their handcrafted goods, visiting their restaurant, or ordering their food online

Visit their online shop here or find out how else you can get involved here.

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A student from Dignity for Children Foundation was previously recognised by Cambridge University for her outstanding O-Levels results:

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