M’sian Social Enterprise That Hires OKUs To Bake Pies
Last year, the government started taking affirmative action by 1% of people with disabilities (OKU) seriously.
This policy has already been established in the past, but its enforcement is weak because there are no penalties for not putting it into practice, Hannah Yeoh said in an interview with Malay Mail.
“Now we are placing the 1% (OKU job) under the KPI of the secretary general of each ministry … which means that the secretary general will now have to go and make sure they hire OKUs,” he said. she says.
But the government still has a long way to go to be more inclusive in their recruitment.
We can wait for this change to happen, but in the meantime we already have smaller players doing just that.
STAND, a Malaysian social enterprise, is one of the many companies that are making that difference.
Helping young adults with disabilities enter the market
STAND was started with the aim of employing young adults with disabilities and providing them with a living wage.
It was started in 2011 by Pastor Lee Hock Cheng and his wife Wai Sze at Full Gospel Assembly Church.
Workers with disabilities were just packing napkins, sugar and sauce for KFC, and straws for Vitagen at the time. Of these jobs, they only earned 45-100 RM per month for 6 years.
In 2017, the pastor and wife duo realized that they could do more for disabled workers, which is why Persatuan STAND was registered as a social enterprise.
When Sarjit Singh joined them in 2018 as Vice President, he helped set up the kitchen organization and advised the team.
In July 2020, he became president of STAND.
He comes from an F & B background and worked in hotels, cafes and was an airline steward before that.
“I have always had an interest in doing something for this sector of society because my son is dyslexic. My wife and I went through a lot of time to find a place of treatment and a school where he could complete his education, ”Sarjit told Vulcan Post.
“We are challenged to bring this group of young people into the next phase. We believe they can be developed and trained to do more than what they are currently doing. We want to strengthen their self-confidence, their dignity and the recognition of their potential to contribute to society.
Sarjit Singh, President of STAND
Support those who need it
Stand Pie Me is an extension of their social enterprise. It is a bakery that makes and sells fresh pies.
Most of their employees are currently sluggish, autistic young adults who they connect with through word of mouth.
Young adults with disabilities are often bullied in their workplace, so Stand Pie Me wanted to create an inclusive and safe workspace for them.
You will find individuals as young as 17 and 50 years old.
Potential employees go through a 2 month trial period. Their confirmation for employment is based on whether or not they are able to get along with their colleagues and cope with stress at work.
As to why they make pies in particular, Sarjit explained, “The pies are made in a sequence, so it’s easier for them to follow and learn the making techniques since everything is measured accordingly. There’s no agak-agak! ”
Growth opportunities and monthly salary for their employees
Besides baking, their employees will also be trained to cook, sweep and mop, among other practical skills.
When it comes to their growth opportunities, it seems to be mostly about training them to be more practical in different bakery operations.
The main challenge that follows is the pace of their work. They cannot push their employees to work faster because it is difficult for them to adjust to a new routine.
Which is why their growth opportunities extend as far as simple things like cleaning and washing dishes.
They may have been able to get some of their employees to adjust to new routines, but in general they should educate everyone and closely monitor new routines and new individual work streams to make sure they get it right. come out well.
“It takes a few days or sometimes a few weeks before they can adjust to a new setting,” Sarjit said.
All of their pies are baked in their OUG Parklane bakery and follow a standard recipe. The quality control of the pies is handled by Sarjit himself with two other colleagues.
Stand Pie Me caters a lot to home schools and corporate functions, but this service was suspended from March to June of this year.
Since they don’t have a retail store to sell these pies, they promote and sell them mainly on Facebook and Instagram.
They started the business by selling them to their friends and family, who have remained loyal customers to this day.
As for compensation, potential employees can expect a monthly salary of RM500-700 at the moment which includes the RM400 welfare fund provided by the government.
This range is actually lower than the RM 1,200 minimum wage for the region, but Stand Pie Me hopes to provide a salary of at least RM 800-1,000 per month in the future.
Hopes for a more inclusive standard in Malaysia
STAND’s goal is to expand to the 13 states of Malaysia and have kiosks in office buildings, schools and private institutions.
They envision these kiosks as an inclusive space where the public can interact with their disabled workers, in order to raise awareness among people with disabilities.
Sarjit wanted to see this throughout this year, but unfortunately with MCO he had to put it on hold.
They were no longer able to meet the needs of the schools, so they bypassed this interrupted revenue stream by starting their pie delivery services.
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Social enterprises like these give me hope that we can further change the labor market for Malaysians with disabilities.
I hope they get at least minimum wage for all their work, like everyone else, but it will take time and government-driven structural changes.
Hopefully, with the 20% incentive that the government is promising in the 2021 budget for employers to hire OKUs, we can see more changes happening next year.
- You can read more about Stand Pie Me here.
- You can read more about the other social enterprises we’ve talked about here.
Featured Image Credit: Sarjit Singh, President of Stand Pie Me
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