A Picha is worth a thousand words: One of our most memorable meals this year was made possible by The Picha Project, a social enterprise founded by three young Malaysian women with a heart for refugee communities. The project (named after a three-year-old Myanmarese boy now living in the Klang Valley) makes a positive impact in the lives of families who've fled Afghanistan, Syria, Palestine, Iraq & Myanmar - in Malaysia, they are legally barred from formal employment, but this initiative enables them to earn a vitally needed income by offering food that focuses on the cherished recipes of their home countries.
To understand The Picha Project better, we were warmly welcomed into the home of Sara, her husband, parents & preteen children - Sara was formerly a nurse in Afghanistan who helped build a school. Seeking a safer, more stable life, the family has been in Malaysia for over two years - Sara is a fine cook, referred to The Picha Project by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, & she laboured in her kitchen to bring us a beautiful feast, including mantu (steamed dumplings stuffed with minced chicken & chives, topped with yoghurt & dal), bolani (fried flatbread filled with mashed potatoes & paired with mint chilli sauce), chicken curry with ravishingly tender meat, qhabeli (fluffy basmati rice flavoured with raisins, carrots & Middle Eastern spices) & much more - soulful home cooking that nourishes the body & nurtures the spirit, painstakingly prepared with a mother's love.
Throughout our two hours here, the gentle graciousness of Sara's family & genuine compassion of The Picha team shone, reinforcing how food brings folks together, how our shared humanity transcends cultural differences, how we have plenty to be thankful for in our lives, & how it's essential to hear the stories of others who've experienced & endured so much. Sara fed us not only with her food but her words & the courageous inspiration of her family; for a taste of her cooking, you can order from Sara's Afghan kitchen (or the kitchens of the other refugee families) through The Picha Project's website at pichaproject.com
The Picha Project currently has nine participating families, carefully hand-picked to ensure their cooking meets the mark for quality & cleanliness (the service is Muslim-friendly); it has served more than 25,000 meals since its inception in early 2016. For meal deliveries to your doorstep, The Picha Project can currently take minimum orders for 10 persons per kitchen for breakfast, lunch or dinner (with an advance order by at least two days). The payment is split by the families & The Picha Project to cover food costs, delivery & other expenses. Catering services are also available - clients have used The Picha Project for everything from corporate events to birthday parties. And if you'd like the full Picha experience, an Open House communal meal, similar to what we enjoyed, can be arranged, in which you'll personally meet a family & Picha team members.
Picha founders Suzanne, Kim & Swee Lin, who met while volunteering on an education initiative for children from marginalised groups, have birthed a creative effort that's been a test of their perseverance (the three are still in their early twenties). If you're part of an office or company that uses food delivery or catering services, consider The Picha Project - beyond supporting a solid cause, it'll be a treat for the taste buds, with interesting recipes to savour that push past the borders of typical city fare.
The Picha Project
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