\u00a0 7 years ago, I was in university \u2013 I was in year one and I was studying psychology. As a psychology undergrad, I wanted to have some experience working with kids, so that when I graduate, my CV would look good. I found this refugee school very near to my uni in Cheras. There were about 100 kids there, but I realized something strange. All these kids \u2013 they go to school, they have their chairs, they have their uniforms, they have their textbooks \u2013 but they don\u2019t have teachers. When I found out, I thought, \u201cHey, I have time in between classes. Why don\u2019t I start volunteering and teach?\u201d While volunteering, I met my two current co-founding members, Kim and Swee Lin, who were also volunteer teachers. We soon realized that this school was struggling financially, so we decided to hold a fundraising concert. We sang some songs to raise some funds for the school. But it wasn\u2019t a good long-term plan. All the funds that we raised finished in 3-6 months. We realized if we raised another round of funds, it would finish again in another 3-6 months. Is there a more sustainable way to make an impact?\u00a0 Are fundraising concerts really the only way? Half of my class dropped out It was only until mid-2015 when we really started doing something about it. It was then that half of my class year dropped out across one month and started working in KKmart, mamak stalls, and the pasar malam. There was an economic crisis -- a very small one at the time -- but because my students were already at the bottom of the income group bracket, that whole shift in the economy affected them a lot. Our students messaged us to apologise, saying, \u201cI\u2019m so sorry teacher. It\u2019s not that I don\u2019t want to come for class, but I really need to work to support my family.\u201d That hit us teachers hard. We realized there is a huge issue surrounding the refugee community, which is -- In Malaysia, we have about 178,100 refugees. They come from places where there is war, and honestly, they have nowhere else to go. But because we as a country did not sign the UN refugee convention, refugees are not allowed to work legally, and cannot go to public school. So what do they do? They do odd jobs in night markets and mamaks -- including the teenagers who are our students. A case of accidental entrepreneurship When we found out about this issue, we decided to do something about it. Since all of our students\u2019 mothers can cook, and people need to eat every single day, we had a simple idea: Why don\u2019t we get the moms to cook delicious food and sell it to our friends? We researched food packaging, food garnish, how to make food look nicer, etc. (We didn\u2019t know what we were doing, so we basically googled everything.) Since I was still in uni, I said to my uni friends, \u201cEh, give me RM7 and next week I\u2019ll bring you food.\u201d I didn\u2019t have many friends, so they helped me collect money from their friends -- and that\u2019s how we collected RM7 from 30 people and did our first sale. To our surprise, when the food came, they really enjoyed it. Not just because the food was good, but because this lunch was helping a mother to improve her family\u2019s life. So we did that for 4 months until the day we graduated. As we pondered what we were going to do after this, we asked ourselves: \u201cDo we do this full time? Or do we look for a full-time job?\u201d We knew that if we found full-time jobs, this project would definitely die off because it requires full time attention. So the three of us said to each other: \u201cWe have nothing to lose. Let\u2019s try it out, if it works, it works. If it doesn\u2019t, we can go find a fulltime job.\u201d That was in 2016. It\u2019s been 4 years since, and we are still fulltime in PichaEats, and we are still surviving. The misheard origins of Picha\u2019s name When we needed a business name, we had to register (Something) Sdn Bhd. So we decided to name ourselves as Picha Project at that time, because of this boy right here. He\u2019s the son of our first chef and his name is Picha. We named ourselves as the Picha Project, as a constant reminder to ourselves that we started this business for the boy and for his family, and we want to continue to grow for more families like Picha\u2019s. But the joke is \u2013 I really don\u2019t say this a lot \u2013 the joke is that 3 months after we registered as Picha Sdn. Bhd, we realized his name is actually \u201cPeter\u201d. The only reason why we always heard it as \u201cPicha\u201d is because the only time we hear his name is when his mom would call his name from the kitchen, so it always would sound like \u201cPichaaa, Pichaaa!\u201d But anyway, jokes aside, \u201cPicha Sdn Bhd\u201d sounds better than \u201cPeter Sdn Bhd\u201d, so we kept the name. \u201cWhat were the challenges when you first started?\u201d First of all, I studied Psychology, and my co-founder majored in Guitar. Thankfully, my other co-founder majored in Accounting and Finance, because if not, our business sure die. Jokes aside, when the 3 of us got together, we had zero business background or knowledge. In this Magic Accelerator program, the first lesson was planning your business so that it must break even. I raised my hand and asked, \u201cWhat is break even?\u201d When we started, we were 23. And some people in the food industry told us: \u201cYou three are too young.\u201d People would ask a lot of nonsense questions like: \u201cYou know Malaysia got a lot of food right? Why would people buy food cooked by refugees?\u201d \u201cIs it\u2026 safe?\u201d \u201cIs it\u2026hygienic?\u201d \u201cEat already, will you get HIV?\u201d \u201cWhy help others, why don\u2019t you help our own people?\u201d It was all sorts of nonsense questions. But we were very determined, and we knew we wanted to do this. Our response was, \u201cWe have this idea, and we know we can help people. It might make a change. Why not try it?\u201d We also put it clearly out there that this food is cooked by the refugee community. We didn\u2019t want to hide it, because it\u2019s a good way to educate people about who refugees are, why they are here, and why they are not just victims. It took us about 2-3 years to change their perspectives, and as of 2020, we have served about 500 over corporate clients, we have done about 4 million in sales for the past 3.5 years, and 50% of it goes directly back to the chefs. I mention this not because I want to toot our own horn, but because this happened despite people saying \u201cThis will never work.\u201d All these companies really come to us not because they want help \u2013 they come to us because they really like the food. And for the past 3.5 years we\u2019ve been able to work with about 25 families, about 100 individuals including their kids. 100% of our chef\u2019s kids are all in school right now, because the parents are financially stable. All of them are able to earn 250% of the minimum wage (RM2500) to cover their basic expenses. That is our goal: to make sure their kids get to go to refugee school or Arabic school. Making "Making A Change" as Simple as Possible Image via PichaEats (IG handle: @pichaeats). One thing that we always think to stop ourselves from making a change is this: We see all these problems around the world and it looks so big and so hard to solve. And we tell ourselves, \u201cOh I\u2019m not Mother Teresa I don\u2019t have such a big heart. This is not for me, okay, let\u2019s just ignore it, someone good will solve the problem.\u201d But we don\u2019t do more because we think that our actions don\u2019t matter, because the problem is so huge. But can we switch this around and ask ourselves this question instead: How can you be you and make a change? And the most basic thing \u2013 if you think \u201cI don\u2019t know what is my strength\u201d -- Let me help you \u2013 just eat. Eat \u2013 and you are making a direct change. That is also one of the things that we wanna push for. We want to make \u201cmaking a change\u201d something that\u2019s very easy for people. Birthday party? Buy from Rania, maybe, then she gets half of what you pay for. Another half goes to the business to sustain and help us pay our salaries. There\u2019s a lot of things that we can do as long as we put conscious thought into it. \u00a0For more stories like this, read: Real People: How To Spot A Leader, A Follower, and A Rebel and From Selling Books to Thousands of White Shirts. How did Oxwhite founder CK Chang do it?