KUALA LUMPUR: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day but teach a man to fish and you feed him for life.”
This is the guiding philosophy behind Masala Wheels, Malaysia’s first social enterprise endeavour that distributes free meals to the city’s homeless and empowers the underprivileged to become entrepreneurs in their own right.
Speaking to FMT, founder Kuhan Pathy said Masala Wheels was set up by a group of young local professionals in 2015.
Masala Wheels is in the business of selling home-cooked Indian food from as low as RM5 to city dwellers.
Their bright orange-coloured food truck, that makes its rounds in the bustling streets of Kuala Lumpur is hard to miss.
“We operate in the KLCC area and we are known for affordable meals priced from as low as RM5,” he said at Masala Wheel’s official launch recently.
Kuhan said profits generated from the food truck went into the preparation and distribution of free meals to the city’s homeless.
“We realise that it is not about just giving food (to the underprivileged), we must empower people to make a living for themselves.”
He explained that Masala Wheels helped the poor, as well as single mothers and refugees by giving them an opportunity to become entrepreneurs under the Masala Wheels banner.
“The reason why we can offer cheap meals is because the food is actually contributed and distributed by our beneficiaries, who are refugees and single mothers.
“We teach them how to prepare the food and from then on, they earn their own income and a small amount goes back to Masala Wheels.”
Future plans for Masala Wheels, Kuhan said, included venturing outside the city to schoolchildren and those in rural areas. They also intend to train rural folk on how to become entrepreneurs as well.
“We want to go to places such as estates. We want to teach the people about Masala Wheels and then we will bring them on board as franchisers.”
Masala Wheels was recently selected by the United States Embassy to represent Malaysia at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2016 in San Francisco, that President Barack Obama attended.
Treasury Secretary-General Irwan Serigar Abdullah, who was present at the launch, praised the people behind Masala Wheels for their noble work.
“Not only are they helping the poor in terms of providing food, they are also training new entrepreneurs in the community.”