By Tania Jayatilaka
December 29, 2020
Kuhan Pathy of Masala Wheels and Amelia Tan of the 100% Challenge share what has arguably been probably the most difficult yr of their respective social entrepreneurship journeys and their hopes for 2021
Creating constructive change is not straightforward. Impacting the lives of others is difficult sufficient with out the reality-altering pressures of a pandemic getting in the way in which. But 2020 has in some ways sparked a larger sense of empathy, tenacity and grit in lots of Malaysians together with social entrepreneurs Kuhan Patty and Amelia Tan.
See additionally: How Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew Stepped Up To Help Amidst The Covid-19 Pandemic
Spending time with fellow changemakers who’re additionally keen about responding to the present points we’re going through is a rejuvenation to the soul.
In 2015, Pathy co-founded Masala Wheels, an award-winning social enterprise meals truck that goals to empower at-risk youths by means of distinctive job alternatives and F&B expertise coaching, all whereas feeding underprivileged communities extra sustainably.
Masala Wheels additionally operates a banana leaf cafe in Petaling Jaya, which doubled as an aid-relief and distribution centre in the course of the MCO. By means of Masala Wheels’ #PayItForward initiative, a complete of 26,054 meals and 397 provisions parcels had been delivered to the city poor, medical frontliners, welfare houses, and even college college students who discovered themselves stranded in a single day resulting from journey restrictions.
How did the MCO have an effect on Masala Wheels?
When the MCO was introduced on March 18, we weren’t ready. Earlier than we may course of the fact of shutting down our bodily outlet in Petaling Jaya, we obtained our first request for sponsored meals. There have been stranded college students in Klang Valley they usually required meals for per week. So we determined to put up a request for 240 meals on our Fb web page. In lower than half-hour, we secured sponsors and extra got here ahead later. Thus started the journey of #FoodWithoutBorders and up to now, we’ve distributed 26,054 meals and 397 provisions with 576 single level deliveries.
What was the scariest second for you in the course of the lockdown?
We misplaced nearly 90 per cent and 70 per cent of our store and catering revenues respectively. Not having the ability to proceed sustaining our beneficiaries has been our biggest worry, as many at-risk youths are depending on us for his or her livelihoods.
Inform us your greatest takeaways from the Covid-19 disaster.
Be ready to pivot. Act quick. Even when it fails, be taught and adapt to circumstances rapidly. Time is of essence.
What’s going to you do in another way sooner or later?
The pandemic has undoubtedly hit us badly, as we function a restaurant as one of many income streams to maintain our social enterprise. Every thing we do after this disaster might be with a powerful deal with constructing a extra resilient mannequin that shapes the transition to a brand new regular.
Any thrilling plans Masala Wheels in 2021?
Completely! We’re at the moment engaged on a “Hybrid Cloud Kitchen” mannequin intertwined with parts of IR4 and social influence. We’re planning to roll this out in January 2021. To additional scale back the digital divide amongst B40 communities, we’re engaged on a simplified market to profile their financial initiatives for ease of entry to companies and prospects.
Are you trying ahead to any relaxation this year-end?
I’m going on a yearly retreat to the Himalayan area to replicate and recharge; final yr being was Nepal and the yr earlier than, India. With journey restrictions and the necessity to re-strategise our social enterprise, I will be busy focussing on our plans in 2021 with the administrators.
We’ll proceed with our meals help distribution efforts and our micro-entrepreneurship digitalisation programme with B40 communities by means of Yayasan Hasanah all through year-end. Personally, spending time with fellow changemakers who’re additionally keen about responding to the present points we’re going through is already a rejuvenation to the soul.
Amelia Tan is the undertaking director of Mangosteen Joy. She’s additionally the co-founder of Ed House which runs the 100% Challenge, a crowdfunding platform that connects educators and lecture rooms throughout the nation with the assets and funds they want. Be it elevating funds for underprivileged SPM college students to entry on-line grasp courses to supporting lecturers and faculties, the 100% Challenge has funded over RM1.3mil in classroom initiatives since its conception.
Because the variety of Covid-19 circumstances spiked in Sabah earlier this yr, the 100% Challenge put its crowdfunding efforts into full gear, elevating cash for PPE, provides and necessities for frontliners in East Malaysia.
Final month, Tan took a leap of religion, resolving to shave her head to boost cash assist three completely different organisations, together with Kembara and Sew X Dignity KL, of their efforts to battle Covid-19. Tan raised RM6,100 from this #BotakHeadChallenge.
What was the scariest second for you in 2020?
I am fortunate in that 2020 was not the most-emotionally difficult yr for me. I struggled with despair and anxiousness in 2016 resulting from a number of life stressors occurring on the identical time. I wrote about this expertise lately in my blog. I wished to share my story as a result of I knew 2020 was going to be a tough yr for many individuals. I’ve been in a darkish place earlier than and I wished to share my story on how remedy and opening as much as a form and loving group saved my life.
Why was spreading that message to others so vital?
I wished to interrupt the stigma round psychological wrestle in order that extra individuals would really feel comfy asking for assist. Whereas 2020 was not straightforward for me both, the self-care observe I learnt from remedy and the assist system I had constructed over these years helped me by means of.
Inform us concerning the #BotakHeadChallenge crowdfunding undertaking.
I began the #BotakHeadChallenge as a result of funding in the course of the third wave was sluggish, resulting from donor fatigue and a normal sense of hopelessness. I’ve been eager to shave my head for some time, however by no means had the heart to do it.
Kembara, an NGO that has been coordinating help to Sabah, was inviting individuals to shave their heads to boost funds. I noticed this as an indication from the universe to only do it. I made a decision to additionally use this symbolic act not simply to boost funds, however to boost consciousness for mental health and to indicate solidarity with those that are struggling on this time by overcoming certainly one of my very own—my private wrestle with self-image.
What have the challenges of this yr taught you about your self and your workforce?
I’ve learnt that an organization and its mission stay and die by its individuals. On the finish of the day, a workforce that has every others’ backs will have the ability to climate by means of any challenges.
Are you trying ahead to any relaxation this year-end?
I plan to spend time with my household and my canine. I’d like to take a while off to do issues that I like, reminiscent of studying fantasy novels, portray and possibly decide up baking!