Most Malaysians are from the third or fourth generation of immigrant families, and to hear that any of us is stateless after our families have been around for so long sounds almost impossible.
However, this is not the case with any third or fourth generation of children born in Sabah, including indigenous peoples, according to UNHCR.
“There are millions in Sabah who are unfortunately stateless. Our beneficiaries carry this burden from their ancestors who failed to register their birth with the Malaysian National Registration Department, ”shared Raudhah Nazran, CEO Accelerate Global, with Vulcan Post.
Here, the social enterprise enters the fight against youth unemployment, especially for those who are poor and marginalized, through training programs that will help them become entrepreneurs.
Opportunity through a pineapple farm
A stateless person is denied citizenship, which in turn deprives him or her of access to health care, education and, of course, restricts their travel.
When Raudhah and the acceleration team learned of statelessness in Sabah, they questioned residents of Kampung Sage 1, Sepanggar, which is only a 5-minute drive from the University of Malaysia Sabah.
This is a village near the mangrove area, where houses were built right in the mangrove swamps.
“I was devastated when I saw tall buildings and luxury living around the area when there are literally people struggling to even feed themselves and their family just around the corner,” Raudhah shared.
Fortunately, the soil in the mangrove area they were in was also suitable for growing pineapples, which was the way they started a pineapple farm to feed themselves whenever they ran out of funds.
Showing entrepreneurial ropes
Before Accelerate scouted them, the community had no knowledge of entrepreneurship and did not think about starting a business to generate income.
Therefore, the Acceleration Team trained 43 youth in the community through a four-month program divided into 4 phases, which was the beginning Nanaslab.
The first phase, Personal Growth is to help them build self-confidence and motivation, encouraging them to dream again, especially as they work with some users who have lost hope in life.
“Some of them cheated or lied, while some faced trauma because authorities caught family members,” Raudhah shared.
The other stages help them understand the basics of finance, the concept of entrepreneurship, pricing and marketing, and finally, the production of pineapple jam.
Pineapple jam was chosen as the first product made by many because it takes minimal cost with existing resources.
The road to business independence
Through all entrepreneurship programs for Accelerate, their beneficiaries will go through a two-month business incubation after completing the program.
Before they fully take over the job, they will first go through a shadow program with the Accelerate team to better learn how to manage orders, postage and deliveries.
In this case, the acceleration team is also working together with customers on order management in western Malaysia, while improving their social media skills, all in the first month.
In the second month, users will take over the job completely, and the acceleration team will just observe and provide final feedback before passing on the entire operation to them.
From now on, users are divided into 6 groups for 6 steps of the jam making process: preparing pineapple, cooking jams, including preservatives, packaging and labeling, delivery and quality control.
Pak Muhyiddin, who is the head of the village, is currently leading the quality control team.
As they now reduce costs as much as possible, the Nanaslaba team only makes jams when they receive orders to avoid spoiling.
“The start-up capital was provided by Accelerate Global, and the profits are shared equally for everyone for the first batch of pineapple jam, given that everyone has invested the same amount of time and energy,” Raudhah shared.
Pineapple jams at a price of RM20 for 180 ml, no postage. To date, Nanaslab has managed to sell close to 100 jars of pineapple jams.
Not allowing statelessness to define their lives
“Experiencing discrimination and slander for being stateless, they hope this job can be a symbol of strength and determination to create change no matter the circumstances,” Raudhah shared the community’s hopes.
“They hope to show the world that they too can succeed even though they are denied access to education and employment, and that this job of theirs will change the narrative of their lives.”
As for the acceleration team, they hope that this community will be able to become more self-sustaining and use these entrepreneurial skills to their best advantage in times of adversity.
- You can learn more about Nanaslab here and Accelerate Global here.
- You can read about other social enterprises that we have written here.
Featured Credits: Raudhah Nazran, CEO of Accelerate Global and Nanaslab Advisor