Refugees in Malaysia have no legal right to work

There are more than 163,000 refugees and asylum-seekers registered with the UNHCR in Malaysia.

Their inability to make a living only aggravates their situation, pushing them and their families deeper into a cycle of debt and poverty while they remain in limbo for many years awaiting resettlement or repatriation.

Out of desperation, many end up in dirty, dangerous and difficult jobs in the informal job market and are often exploited and underpaid.

Recognising their need to make a fair and dignified living

We believe it is important to provide asylum-seekers and refugees the dignity to do work they want, be safe and earn a fair living to support themselves while in their country of asylum.

Until the Malaysian law makes a distinction between refugees and illegal immigrants, the reality is many refugees have no choice but to work illegally and for very little pay. We hope to improve this situation by assisting refugees learn basic entrepreneurship skills and build competitive candidate profiles.

 
 

Our Programs

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Entrepreneur Development

A program designed to create self-employment by assisting refugees identify a problem in their community which can be solved through a micro-business. Participants conduct market validation, prototype their business and pitch for funding. Workshops are supported with weekly individual mentoring sessions.

 
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Career Preparation

A program designed to increase work prospects for refugees through workshops which help them understand the work culture in Malaysia, prepare a resume, develop interviewing skills and build their individual career profiles through informal work, freelance and volunteer opportunities.

 

Meet some of our 2018 graduates

 
“Before I joined the program, I was very shy. Now I have my own business. I am not shy to talk to people about it. I run the business with my wife and now there is more love as we work together.”
— Farooq (2018 graduate)
“I feel I am a powerful woman because I am independent now. And being independent makes a person feel confident. Before this I was not earning anything but now, I can support my family.”
— Sediqa (2018 graduate)
 
 
“This program changed me 100%. I learnt I have to be brave and not give up.”
— Fatima (2018 graduate)
“I developed the confidence to speak to customers. I started to see running a business as an alternative to working for someone.”
— Salih Ahmadi (2018 graduate)