What is home to you? AirAsia and their philanthropic arm, the AirAsia Foundation, recently opened their home, AirAsia RedQ, to the public and refugee community. The event showcased AirAsia’s inclusive workplace culture and highlighted the innovative ways that social enterprises have helped improve the livelihood of refugees in Malaysia. But first we were treated to a tour of RedQ.
Guests were given a tour of RedQ, trying out the cool features of the new Google enabled meeting room and zipping down to the main floor using the slide. Technology is used throughout, mixing information and communications technologies with traditional methods. The sleeping pods had some envious looks as did the in-house clinic and physio lab. And let’s not forget the good food on offer!
AirAsia Foundation: ‘In Search of Home’
In Search of Home is a community festival with refugees at RedQ, where visitors heard from Afghan refugee Nahid Kazemi, co-founder of social enterprise label Nazanin and Dr Munawwar Salim, COO of IMARET. IMARET is a medical response team that’s been serving the Rohingya refugees in the Malaysian Field Hospital in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh since October 2017. AirAsia is a flight sponsor for volunteer doctors travelling to Bangladesh under IMARET’s banner.
Nazanin retails its range of colourful and beautifully made bags at AirAsia Foundation’s social enterprise pop-up shop. They also collaborate with AirAsia Foundation to upcycle expired life jackets into lifestyle accessories.
The highlight of the evening was a powerful play titled ‘Screaming in Silence’ on child marriage. Parastoo Theatre is a troupe of Afghan refugees who practice interactive theatre that invites audiences to explore solutions to the social problem presented in the play. A lively discussion at the end of the play provoked ideas on what could be done in the situation.
Parastoo means ‘swallow’ in Persian. It’s a powerful symbol for the refugees, as it’s a nomadic bird with no real place to call home. Formed in June 2017, the theatre troupe was founded by Saleh Sepas, a former journalist and writer from Afghanistan.
Rounding up the afternoon, guests enjoyed dinner cooked by refugee families from Syria, Palestine and Iraq by award-winning social enterprise The Picha Project. Parastoo Theater and The Picha Project have both received grants from AirAsia Foundation.
Guests also had the opportunity to shop for the holiday season gifts at a special edition of Destination: GOOD. AirAsia Foundation’s social enterprise pop-up shop supports a number of worthy organisations.
In addition to popular Nazanin bags, the pop-up saw the launch of a new merchandise range for Parastoo Theatre and products made by other refugee communities in Malaysia. These included apparel by Natra (by Afghan refugees), accessories by Earth Heir x MADE51 and homewares by Kaoprise (by Myanmar refugees). It was very difficult to choose!
Also on display were paintings from an exhibition “Canvassing for Confidence” opening in Kuala Lumpur on 1st December. The exhibition is on for two days between 11am and 5pm at 2 Hang Kasturi KL. Paintings and other products made by the students of MRSI (Malaysian Social Research Institute) Ideas Academy are available for purchase.
A quick look around RedQ and a peek at the Parastoo Theatre play.