Gratitude & paying it forward. 🌏💝
This year has been a roller coaster ride. We started this business literally a few weeks before COVID shut down life in California. The word PIVOT, let's just say, has been the resounding theme of this year.
What has not changed from the very beginning despite all of this year's craziness, however, is our desire to use this business for social change. Serving the refugee community not just in the US, but abroad, has been one of our own personal life missions, so it is only fitting this mission is extended to our business.
Malaysia is not party to the 1951 Refugee Convention which protects the rights and status of refugees. What does this mean? Well, there are many issues with this, some of which include the following: ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
- There is no distinction between an undocumented migrant & a refugee.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
- This means children CANNOT attend schools or receive any form of assistance from the government.
- Adults CANNOT legally work.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
- They are subject to deportation, prosecution, and other forms of punishment.
These statistics & facts do not even match up to the reality of what's happening on the ground. For example, only those officially registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) are included in these numbers. Getting registered is a feat in and of itself. This means there are many more children in Malaysia who have fled their home countries due to war, unrest, or persecution only to land in a country that wants nothing to do with them.
While we are just one teeny tiny company in the world, we desperately want to do something about this. That's why we've decided to partner with El Shaddai Centre, an NGO based in Malaysia whose vision is to to reach out to refugees in Malaysia through compassion services and social work. They are endorsed by the UNHCR Malaysia as an implementing partner to support the needs of refugees in Malaysia.
While El Shaddai provides healthcare, emergency relief, skill training, and engages in social enterprise, education is the main part of their Compassion Work Division. It takes up 75% of their resources, both tangible and intangible. They currently have more than 1,000 students coming from 19 different nationalities.
They have 14 different educational centers around Malaysia, starting with preschool until secondary school.
El Shaddai believes it is the RIGHT of every child to have education, and believe in the power of education to uplift the individual, community, and nation.
To support El Shaddai in their work, a portion of the proceeds from every purchase of our Spin-and-Read Blocks will go towards helping educate children currently living as refugees in Malaysia.
If you would like to learn more about the needs of refugees in Malaysia, please visit El Shaddai Centre's website for more information.
To learn more about refugees and their plight today, please visit the website for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
There is much work to be done on the ground. So, THANK YOU for supporting us and in turn, supporting the refugee children in Malaysia. 🙏🙏
📷: UNHCR & El Shaddai Centre Malaysia