Some­thing good is brew­ing

this so­cial en­ter­prise hopes to help re­duce un­em­ploy­ment among youth in b40 com­mu­ni­ties.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Living - By ELIM POON life­[email protected]­

WHEN Fari­dah Halina Mo­hamad Zairi was re­trenched from her job as a se­nior tech­ni­cal as­sis­tant in an oil and gas com­pany in 2015, she thought that it was a good op­por­tu­nity to ful­fil her long­time dream of set­ting up a cafe.

But, in­stead of es­tab­lish­ing just an­other cof­fee out­let, Fari­dah de­cided to set up a so­cial en­ter­prise to help un­em­ployed youths in B40 com­mu­ni­ties find em­ploy­ment. And that’s how Cof­fee For Good came about.

Fari­dah joined forces with Dalia Ab­dul Aziz, whom she met at a barista com­pe­ti­tion and the two de­cided to em­bark on this ven­ture to­gether. Dalia was also, coin­ci­den­tally, look­ing for some­one to set up a cof­fee-based busi­ness with.

“Cof­fee has al­ways been our pas­sion and we both had the same idea of start­ing a busi­ness that would help oth­ers, par­tic­u­larly un­der­priv­i­leged youth. We have al­ways held a soft spot for this vul­ner­a­ble group – they are at that cru­cial age of be­com­ing adults and need op­por­tu­ni­ties and fi­nan­cial sta­bil­ity given that they come from low-in­come fam­i­lies. Since there are so many ca­reer op­por­tu­ni­ties in the cof­fee in­dus­try, we de­cided on this so­cial en­ter­prise which would of­fer barista train­ing skills for these youths too,” shares Dalia, who is the co-owner of Cof­fee For Good.

To en­sure that the youths are equipped with the nec­es­sary skills re­quired by a good barista, Fari­dah and Dalia made sure that their train­ing pro­gramme in­cluded ba­sic in­ter­per­sonal skills, ba­sic grooming and in­ter­view skills apart from ba­sic barista skills.

“The can­di­dates usu­ally send in their ap­pli­ca­tion via What­sapp or Face­book Mes­sen­ger. Se­lected can­di­dates will pro­ceed with a one-month­long so­cial pro­gramme which is ac­tu­ally an on-the-job train­ing dur­ing which they will be paid wages,” de­tails Dalia who holds a diploma in in­te­rior design and in­te­rior ar­chi­tec­ture and an MBA.

Adds Fari­dah: “They will also learn about how to man­age a busi­ness and so, upon com­ple­tion of their train­ing pro­gramme, they can ei­ther stay on with Cof­fee For Good or use the skills and knowl­edge to ap­ply for em­ploy­ment as baris­tas in other cafes or cof­fee busi­nesses.”

Muham­mad Ali Shao­qee, 23, went through the train­ing pro­gramme and he now is a con­sul­tant for cof­fee start-ups.

“I learnt the ba­sics of be­ing a barista, work­ing be­hind the espresso bar, im­prov­ing my cof­fee knowl­edge as well as learn­ing how to man­age my own lit­tle cof­fee cater­ing busi­ness ... all this while work­ing part-time for Cof­fee For Good,” he shares.

Cof­fee For good was re­cently in­cluded in Hong Leong Bank’s CSR pro­gramme un­der their Hong Leong Bank Jump­start plat­form. It now has two outlets in Bangi in Selangor and Glo Da­mansara in Kuala Lumpur and three pop-up carts.

Hong Leong Bank’s gen­eral man­ager (cor­po­rate com­mu­ni­ca­tion and CSR) Vi­vian Tan says that they were in­trigued by what Cof­fee For Good had to of­fer.

“Our main goal is to help Cof­fee For Good be more sus­tain­able and specif­i­cally help them re­cruit and reach out to more dis­ad­van­taged youths in the B40 com­mu­ni­ties,” says Tan.

The way for­ward is clear and the goals achiev­able.

“We hope that the youths can de­velop their po­ten­tial to be­come true pro­fes­sion­als, in terms of skills, ex­pe­ri­ence and knowl­edge, re­gard­less of the pro­fes­sion they will be in,” sums up Dalia.

Fari­dah (left) and dalia share the same pas­sion to help un­em­ployed youth in the b40 com­mu­ni­ties find gain­ful em­ploy­ment. — AZLINA ab­dul­lah/ the Star

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