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Volkswagen x Pichaeats: Driving kindness for a good cause

Kindness - a word that has such powerful meaning. It comes in many forms, and is often said in many ways, but the result is the same - it drives happiness.

It was with this thought that this project came to life between Volkswagen Malaysia and Pichaeats, a Malaysian social enterprise committed to empowering the refugee community in Malaysia through its food business.

The Volkswagen Group has been committed to aiding refugees via numerous social platforms since 2015, as part of its social responsibility pillar - in April 2020, the Group donated one million Euros to provide aid and emergency relief for refugee camps in Syria, Turkey and Greece.

While the scale isn't quite the same, the impact of the "Driving Kindness" project in Malaysia is no less meaningful. A total of 280 meals to the less fortunate, in efforts to drive kindness this festive season. Malaysia is currently not part of the United Nations Refugees Convention, refugees in the country are not recognized as asylum seekers and cannot be formally employed. Through PichaEats, the refugee chefs prepare the food in their own homes in accordance to strict quality standards. With every meal ordered, 50 percent of sales goes to the chefs, while the other 50 percent goes to PichaEats to cover operation costs, logistics and packaging.

"Christmas is the season of giving, and it is a privilege to be able to give back to the community and to the less fortunate. The year has been extremely challenging for everyone, and it is so important to stay connected, be kind and to give back whenever possible. We are honoured to partner with the charismatic team at PichaEats, who are doing an amazing job creating opportunities for refugees in Malaysia," said Erik Winter, the Managing Director of Volkswagen Passenger Cars Malaysia who was also present to deliver the meals.

Kim Lim, CEO and co-founder of PichaEats added that the project was a clear reflection of Picha's mission to drive kindness. "At PichaEats, we are all about making an impact. For this Christmas and year end season, we especially wanted to emphasise the idea of bringing joy and spreading kindness to the community at large. It was a pleasure working with Volkswagen Malaysia to realise this, who were all-in for putting a smile on the faces of those who needed some good cheer."

The "Driving Kindness" convoy consisted of employees from Volkswagen and Picha, driving a Tiguan Allspace Highline and a Passat Elegance; and four classic Volkswagen cars - two Beetle cars and two Kombi vans driven by their owners who had volunteered for the project. The owners, all prominent members in the classic car community, were Thavanesan Selvratnam, Sukhbir Sidhu, Cliften Nathaniel and Shamrraj Subramaniam.

Shamrraj Subramaniam, more fondly known as Bob to those who know him, expressed the happiness and humility to be able to make a difference to those in need. "Before bringing out the goods that we're supposed to show up with, they greet us with a big grin. That grin shows us a vulnerable side, a side that speaks gratitude towards mankind serving mankind. It speaks volume that you and I cannot measure. It is very puerile and very intense at the same time. It gives hope for those serving and a tonne more for those receiving, to believe in humanity in diversity. And for as long as we can channel these values and practices towards those in need, the more they needn't feel that way. And to be able to contribute a small part in this huge effort, brings a smile to our faces."

Recipients of the Driving Kindness campaign were Hiichiikok Foundation, Trinity Community Children's Home, Lighthouse Children's Welfare Home, Sunteck Handicap Welfare Home and Charis Sheep Pen Shelter, all located in Klang Valley. And as a show of support to our health frontliners, a total of 100 meals were delivered to the doctors and nurses at the Covid-19 testing station at Hospital Kuala Lumpur.

In the spirit of giving, five families and individuals were also presented with a PichaEats Christmas Family set. The respective parties were selected through an online contest, which called out to netizens to nominate those going through tough times and deserved a special meal as a show of love and appreciation.

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