Rohingya Curries Here
Malayasia: It's an 80-square-foot kitchen that barely holds three people at a time, but Jasmina has made thousands of meals, many of them aromatic Rohingya curries, there over the last year. The cooking is 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 a Rohingya refugee from Myanmar has been living in limbo in Malaysia for more than 20 years. The young company said it has also achieved profitability — a milestone many start-ups can't reach — and it's delivered more than 40,000 meals from refugees' home kitchens. The Picha Project is 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) in the Southeast Asian country, they find themselves in a difficult grey area: They're allowed in the country, but not allowed to work legally. The financial problems that refugees face prompted an unlikely trio — Kim Lim, a musician; Suzanne Ling, a psychology graduate; and Lee Swee Lin, a finance professional — into action. The three founders told CNBC that they had observed through volunteering experiences that the children of refugees often dropped out of school because their families had trouble making ends meet. The 10 refugee partners of the start-up come from countries like Myanmar , Syria and Iraq, and the chefs make hard-to-find food options from their home countries. The average age of the team is just 24, but they have lofty ambitions. They have big plans to grow the number of refugee partners, hit profit margins of 20 percent in six months' time, and set up a central kitchen.