In this episode, I am speaking to Debbie Choa, co-founder and chief operating officer of Projek57, a social enterprise in Malaysia that focuses on unity and youth.
I was given one of Projek57’s products, a unity ribbon a few years ago. About 300,000 unity ribbons handmade by the underprivileged, have been sold to date. And the best part of all, 100% of the profits go back to the people who made them.
Debbie and her husband, Collin started Projek57 with Collin’s long-time friend, Syed Sadiq Albar with the hope of bringing unity through youth engagement while giving back to the community.
Projek57 began as a conversation about bringing true unity back into Malaysia. The founders were dismayed that racial polarisation and religious tension were rising in Malaysia and believed they needed to take action and do something to enable Malaysians to stand together as one.
Working with corporations and youth, Projek57 has channelled more than RM400,000 to help the underprivileged in Malaysia. They undertake workshops and projects that foster the spirit of unity in Malaysian youth.
Debbie says she is inspired by five women in her Entrepreneurs Organisation forum that she meets once a month where they talk about life – personal, business, family & community.
“We have been together for more than 10 years – Theresa De Silva, Lim Woon Wei, Lavina Valiram, Maureen Ooi and Amanda Lokman and they’re also entrepreneurs, wives and mothers and most importantly, my sounding boards!” says Debbie.
A big milestone for her is that some 300,000 Unity Ribbons of Projek57 have been purchased and worn by Malaysians from different walks of life since 2018.
“It’s so encouraging to know that no matter what, Malaysians love our nation and many want to be united!”
(Krista’s note: It’s so apt that this episode airs today. The past week has been incredibly trying for many Malaysians who lost their homes and for some their lives during the flooding. Despite the struggle, Malaysians used Twitter to rally for help and came together to help each other whether it was cooking food, donating supplies or even cleaning up mud-filled houses. What a fantastic demonstration of our true Malaysian spirit.)
Connect with her on FB & Instagram: @debbiechoa