Entrepreneurship, THE Social Solution for Malaysian Women Inmates

Jan 13, 2011   //   by Admin   //   Blog  //  No Comments

All doors open for all women in Malaysia, including inmates.

Good fortune came my way today as part of a group of women entrepreneurs heading their way to Kajang Women Prison. It was a first visit for all 8 of us, including Jimmy the ‘board game’ guy. We couldn’t contain our excitement as we sat together in the plain white Toyota Hiace 10-seater, chattering away imagining curled barbed wire and scenes from ’24′. The barbed wire I saw alright but no unbecoming scene… In fact we were politely ushered to a nice auditorium, still no criminal faces at sight. Instead, Malay women, almost 100 odd Malay women in pretty scarves and colourful baju kurung filled up the seats.

They turned out to be the supervisors at different prisons who learned about entrepreneurial empowerment! Cool stuff I say as I wade through inside my head the dizzying effect of entrepreneurship I am experiencing myself.

Many lessons I learned today as I sat in the sprawling compound of this women Prison;

Entrepreneurship (the E-word as I call it) is not a buzzword. It is not like some kind of fashion trend, here today gone tomorrow. It is a solution recognised as far back as thousands of years ago and it is still in fashion today. And it’s smart for the prison authority to adopt it as a way to self-sustain their ever increasing maintenance costs.

In order to successfully adopt E, skill-building is no 1 priority and it is an ongoing exercise as I reflect on the neutral status of the market. The market does not care if the frozen currypuffs are made by inmates as long as they taste good, really good. That’s all the market ever cares. And I discovered the currypuffs tasted really delicious, fat with spicy filling with crusty skin to boot!

Then I realised with the empowerment of E comes C. The big C, Competition! Even inmates produce commercial stuff nowadays, more products will be offered to the market (they are already in Mydin) which is good news to consumers. What’s in it for ‘normal’ entrepreneurs, the non inmates, non OKU, non women? To survive and stay profitable is to buck up, my inner voice answered.

And the prison authority is thinking big: ‘One Prison One Industry’. Plus they are also polishing up on wellness industry, the ever popular spa and salon business, call first to book they say! ‘Batik chanting’ and ‘Kain tenun’ which already received the Royalty of Pahang’s blessings and more industries to come, spearheaded by the prison officials and executed by the skilled inmates. I am totally at awe and beyond inspiration as I digest all this strangely unfamiliar data into my system in the solid 2 hour sharing.

A mistake is no longer a big mistake, a label no longer permanent for these inmates…..

We were quiet on our way home in the plain white van. Everyone’s reflecting on their own nuggets of wisdom as they carried this piece of information back to their friends and relatives.

I know I want something different, uniquely different to wrap up my 2010. Well I got it! And there, another lesson learned, only if you want it and want it badly, the universe will hear it and the Creator will allow it to have your way. The prison people saw it, want it and grabbed it.

Adios 2010, Tafadhal 2011!

Sharifah Raudhah

Founder of Face2Face Tech

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