We sat down with Mastura from The Nasi Lemak Project to find out more about how she is helping women by empowering them with entrepreneurial skills to help elevate their families from a life of poverty.
Buy a Nasi Lemak, Help a Family
We are partnering up with The Nasi Lemak Project in support of their cause to improve the livelihood of lower-income families and the urban poor. When Mastura M. Rashid and Zul Imran Ishak started The Nasi Lemak Project (TNLP) in 2012, they set it up as a non-governmental organisation providing food and education to the homeless and urban poor. After awhile, they realised that giving handouts to the poor is only a temporary solution, they needed to tackle the core of the problem by helping the poor families increase their monthly income.
Prompted by this revelation, they established an F&B company called ‘The Nasi Lemak Project (TNLP) Sdn. Bhd.. Now, instead of just giving them handouts, TNLP is helping 20 families by empowering the breadwinners of the family to become Nasi Lemak entrepreneurs.
TNLP gives the opportunity for women from low-income families to set up their own business.
“The women of these families have the skill and ability to cook. So in line with the name of our brand, we decided that they can double their income by selling nasi lemak. At the same time, we can sustain our social impact projects. And, that was how all of this started,” Mastura explains.
To take part in the project, individuals have to meet certain criterias. 1)They have to earn less than RM900 monthly. 2)They need to have their own kitchen and their own great recipes and 3)They have to complete the one month training course set up by TNLP which includes subjects like basic book keeping and food handling.
After completing the training, TNLP will set up a one-year supply contract with the participant. Within this one year, the sellers will need to save 30% of their profit monthly in order for them to set up their own stall. TNLP also provides micro-financing for this purpose.
Ayam Masak Merah is one of their best selling lauks.
TNLP has very strict guidelines when it comes to quality. To keep the nasi lemak’s flavour and quality consistent, Zul and Mastura will taste them daily. Failure to comply with their standards will cause the seller to get a lower percentage of sales from them. “But so far, we haven’t had to do this because the sellers do cook from their hearts and they never compromise on quality. Our bestseller lauks at the moment are the Ayam Goreng Berempah, Crispy Fried Mushrooms, Ayam Masak Merah and Chicken Rendang,” Mastura adds.
Mastura believes nasi lemak can help improve the lives of the urban poor.
When asked about how they want to be perceived, Mastura said, “We need the world to know that we are not an NGO that feeds the homeless, we are helping the urban poor in a more sustainable way, and we are giving them a livelihood. We are selling and producing quality nasi lemak made by the urban poor so buy from us to help them. Currently we sell on average 200 to 250 packs monthly, ideally we want to increase it to 2,000 packs. We are planning to expand to food trucks and mobile sales riders in the future, this will hopefully bring our nasi lemak to more people.”
Look out for this logo at I Eat Nasi Lemak and purchase a nasi lemak from them. It's for a good cause!
TNLP will be at the I Eat Nasi Lemak 2016, show your support by buying their nasi lemak there.