Recently, I learned of a Chinese saying that goes, “Fragrance will linger over your hands when you give out flowers.” It means that when you help others, you are also benefiting yourself. When you successfully help someone, that feeling of joy that you get in return can be a very fulfilling and satisfying feeling. If one of your new year resolutions is to do some good this year, here are one of the ways you can do it. Show your support for these organisations and social enterprises that aim to help the marginalised and minority population when you buy their products.
Without further ado, here are 6 places where you can purchase some really cool stuff and do some good while you’re at it!
Co-founded by siblings Agnes and Mario Peter in 2006, RC Deaf Missions Malaysia was a result of the siblings’ passion for the Deaf community. The mission was to provide employment opportunities to the Deaf to improve their standard of living. They do this by training and employing Deaf staff so that they have a way to enhance their livelihood. The company has expanded since then and now includes a café, merchandise store and a centre where you can go to learn the Malaysian Sign Language (BIM) – which is how I first came across them when I was looking for a place to learn sign language.
Working with Deaf graphic designer Claire Pan (@wlgraphicdesigner) who designed their latest collection of BIM graphic tees, they decided to go with the theme of their community’s signature handshape – “I Love You”. They are a few designs which you can check out on their website. You can also show your support by having a meal at their café which is fully employed by Deaf employees. Drop by the café that is located opposite the Kelana Jaya LRT station for some delicious sandwiches, fried rice or curry laksa – just remember to make a reservation if you are a group of 4 and above.
Dignity for Children Foundation is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that provides holistic care and education for poor children in KL. Founded in 1998, Dignity helps children and youths through their community learning centres where the underprivileged urban poor can go to study from pre-school level to IGCSE ‘O’ level as well as vocational skills.
Not only that, but they also run five Transformational Enterprises which can be seen as shop-schools – places where the youth can go for real-life training to gain life skills, employability skills and build character. These enterprises are a part of their Urban Youth Education Village model which brings together academic learning and hands-on experience while serving the community. At the moment, the five enterprises are eat X dignity, cut X dignity, sew X dignity, art X dignity, and wellness X dignity.
The result of these enterprises are products that the public can buy with the profits channelled back to the Foundation to help more students. You can find a wide variety of products from cookies to their batik collection and even handmade woodwork. For the upcoming Chinese New Year, they have a released a CNY 2022 collection which includes yummy CNY cookies and beautiful handmade fabric ang pows that can be reused as mini clutches!
3. Earth Heir®
Not that we need any excuse but with CNY just around the corner, we are going to be shopping for some new clothes and with new clothes, it also means looking for bags and accessories to match the new attires. Look no further than Earth Heir with their collection of beautiful accessories, bags and more!
With the aim to serve traditional artisans in underserved communities, Earth Heir® support them through ethical business operations such as education, collaboration, production, supply chain training, etc. They hope that this will help the artisans to become more independent and able to build a sustainable livelihood through their work.
What I liked most about the products from Earth Heir® is how they combine traditional techniques and skills that have been passed down from generation to generation with contemporary design that makes them easy to wear or use on a daily basis. As I was browsing through their online shop, I couldn’t help but get myself a Mah Meri Handwoven Bracelet (as pictured) – the design is unique and it is woven in a way where it is an adjustable strap – even children can wear it!
Langit Collective came about when the four founders were working among the rural communities in Sabah and Sarawak and saw the untapped potential in the people and the place. They decided to start Langit Collective to help create a sustainable economic ecosystem by bridging urban and rural economies.
Langit connects smallholder farmers in East Malaysia with broader markets by promoting their unique and heritage agricultural products. The products are acquired directly from farmers and purchased at a fair price, with at least 35% of the retail revenues going directly to the farmers.
Their most well-known product are their selection of heirloom rice varieties – white rice, black rice, red rice, and glutinous rice. Are you wondering how are they different from the other rice in the market? Well, the rice collection from Langit is grown using traditional farming practices in an untouched highland environment. The combination of clear air, unpolluted soil, and clear water produces high quality grains that is unlike those grown in conventional areas. You can also be sure that the rice is grown without the use of any chemicals.
GOLD is the acronym for Generating Opportunities for Learning Disables and the idea came about in year 2000 by a group of teachers and parents who were concerned with the future of their children who had learning disabilities. What would happen to them after they leave school? To answer this question, they started GOLD with the aim to promote economic empowerment for the learning disables.
Through their centre and specialised programs, students with learning disabilities could gain motor and life skills training, attitude guidance and skills matching based on their capabilities. They also run a bakery and café where students can learn how to bake, fulfil customer orders and how to run the establishment. If you would like to support their cause, you can buy their products such as the Kindness cookies, Goodness granola, tote bags and t-shirts – just check out their Instagram page. The Kindness cookies would make great CNY cookies too!
It all started when a group of university students started teaching in a refugee learning centre. Within three years of volunteering, they realised that many of their students would drop out due to financial issues at home. After having a meal one day with the refugee students, they were inspired to start a food business where the refuges families cook as a mean to improve their livelihood. Starting out in January 2016 with their first chef – Picha’s mother (hence their name PichaEats) – they have since grown and have partnered with 35 chefs from Syria, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Palestine, Iraq, and Pakistan. They have served 350,000 meals and have given back RM2.5 million to the chefs to ensure that their children will be able to receive an education.
If you are looking to try something different aside from the usual local and Western options, I recommend that you take a look at the scrumptious food offered at PichaEats. My mouth was watering just looking at their menu – everything looks so good! Get ready for CNY by ordering one of their delicious CNY offerings. Or if you live alone, consider getting their meal subscription plan which starts at RM56 for 3 meals. They come frozen and can easily be heated up any time you want to eat.
PichaEats summed up their operation really well here – “as they are putting food on your table, you are putting food on theirs.”
It’s not that difficult to do something good and give back to the society – it’s really a win-win situation for all of us. So next time you are looking to buy something that can be found on this list, do consider buying it from these organizations and social enterprises.
Want to do more good deeds? Here’s where you can shop for eco-friendly products!
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