If the word cookies does not get your attention, the phrase ‘Cookies for a Cause’ would.
‘Cookies For a Cause’ is an initiative by Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah, in support of women in the B40 community in her constituency.
The project, which started early this year, is run using funds allocated by the Kita Selangor Package, and hopes to nurture and empower women entrepreneurs through the many free training programs – from actual baking courses, online marketing strategies, promotional guidance, to monetary management.
The 20 women under this project, are from Lembah Subang and Taman Medan, with each lady specialising in baking/making one type of cookie/snack. GoodNews spoke to 5 entrepreneurs under the ‘Cookies for a Cause’ project, to know their story.
Speaking to these ladies was a humbling experience. What was even more evident than the fine lines on their faces, faint smiles, and soft spokenness, was the camaraderie between them. A bond only these women understood, through their hardships and life struggles.
Madam Dana, from Lembah Subang, is 49 years old. When the pandemic hit last year, her job, transporting school children, took a setback. Although her perseverance kept her attempting many other small businesses, she still found it a struggle to make ends meet. She then came across this initiative. Dana has been making murukku, a well-loved traditional Indian snack, during festive periods, especially Deepavali. But never did the thought of selling come to mind. When YB Maria suggested introducing flavoured murukku to cater for a more diversified market, Dana was skeptical. Over time, after poring over YouTube videos, this lady has now perfected the ‘salted-egg murukku’.
36-year-old Puan Siti Norazura and husband, both factory workers, were laid-off from their jobs last year. She then ventured into selling ‘kuih kapit’, also known as love-letters. Although she is familiar selling to friends and family, she wanted a product with a difference. Hence, the variation with peanut butter, oreo and sunflower seeds. Siti expresses her gratitude to YB Maria Chin and team, saying “I am not a learned person, but with this opportunity given, I have grown in confidence, through adversities.” As Siti shared her setbacks in life, she proudly states the fact, “Women must trust in their abilities, and be open to the need for upskilling. Always think positive, and surround yourself with like-minded people, who are able to support you in times of need.”
When Puan Siti Salnah, 44, a mother of 4, stopped work in 2016, she ventured into the frozen food business, supplying to shops and outlets. Last year though, Salnah’s business took a hard hit, as many retail outlets she was supplying to, had to shut down. Salnah has been following success stories and journeys of other entrepreneurs, so when ‘Cookies for A Cause’ first popped up, she leaped at the idea of being a part of it. Having started with normal pineapple jam tarts, Salnah is now the proud baker of blueberry jam tarts.
Madam Rama, a 46-year-old single parent is not new to making ‘achu murukku’, a South Indian snack, also known as ‘rose murukku’. Previously, when she was selling to friends and family, Rama was uncertain of how to market her rose murukkus, resulting in a price offered, undermining her time and effort invested. However, with proper guidance and trainings given by YB Maria and team, Rama has learned the ropes of the business, and humbly quips that, earnings from her sales has helped her family tremendously.
With 3 dependents to support, Puan Asmah is a 54-year-old single mother and factory worker. Having to wake up at 4am every day, to care for her 78-year-old mother before she heads out for work, Asmah sighs at this routine, but is thankful to be blessed with good health, and to be able to still provide and care for family. Asmah’s ‘kuih semperit’ is one of the 20 biscuits featured under this project.
Each jar of cookies/snacks is sold at RM20. If you wish to contribute to the livelihoods of these women and their families, orders can be made through the following link:
Video Interview (with subtitles):