Shyam Priah: Former psychologist and corporate responsibility strategist to NGO Founder
Updated: Oct 26, 2021
This week, Nairenon is sharing another Malaysian Story of Shyam Priah, who is an inspiration to many as she and her team in Yellow House have helped donate and assisted thousands of marginalized communities in Klang.
When and how did it all start?
It all began in 2011 when Shyam who comes from a psychology background was working as a former corporate responsibility strategist for My Khatulistiwa and a group marketing manager in an online government news agency, Malaysiakini. During her time working there, she met a lot of marginalized communities such as the homeless, refugees, and B40 communities who needed help in sustaining their everyday life. Shyam who was once homeless vowed to help them once she was able to build a life for herself. Thus the inception of Yellow House.
In the beginning, Shyam began to collaborate and work closely with partners with similar values and ideas for helping the marginalized. A lot of people came to help, from cooking to helping with distributing food to the B40 communities. Today, Shyam and her team have worked with over 400 international volunteers across 70 countries in helping and donating the basic essentials to the marginalized communities. Some of the projects that they worked on are focused on making lives better for refugees, B40 communities, and the homeless. The initiatives are centered on uplifting lives through the eradication of poverty, focusing on capacity building, upskilling, and microfinance education.
What initiative is Yellow House currently working on?
Many families who have lost their jobs during the pandemic have not been able to bounce from the catastrophe. In addition, these families are in dire need of funds in order to support their children to be able to return to school. Hence, project S.O.U.P took place as a fundraiser in April 2021 where the volunteers and the team of Yellow House raised monetary funds and contributed food and groceries for needy families. Basic necessities such as sanitary napkins, infant diapers, infant milk formula, and so on were also distributed to the families that were affected. Currently, about 7000 bags of groceries were distributed to thousands of marginalized families ranging from refugees to B40 communities to migrant workers.
Introducing farming for the B40 communities and start-up an e-commerce platform
There is also a need for families to bounce back economically since losing their jobs due to the Movement Control Order (MCO). Yellow House is helping and teaching the B40 communities to grow balcony gardens if they have small spaces available. It started in Dengkil, providing seeds to 18 families and encouraging them to grow their own organic vegetables to grow respectively.
Each family has to grow and distribute only one type of vegetable, encouraging healthy competition with each other. This project has been a success, for the families are now selling their vegetables in wholesale markets based in Selayang. Not only that, but they have also priced their organic vegetables to be sold at an affordable price for the public to afford, especially to the marginalized communities.
Taking things to the next level, Yellow House has plan build an e-commerce platform, and equip the comminities with the skills needed to enter the digital market.
How can You and I be a part of Yellow House's initiatives?
As a team, Nairenon had the privilege to work with Shyam to provide fresh produce to Uncle Kentang - a non-profit organization that provides comprehensive initiatives in West Malaysia. Our joined initiative and fresh produce are mostly focused on helping the B40, refugees, and homeless communities in West Malaysia. If you are keen to learn more, check out Uncle Kentang's initiatives here.
As for you, Yellow House accepts experienced volunteers to provide their time and support across different functions/needs. Some of the frequent needs are spreading awareness with word-of-mouth and social media (Millenials, we are calling you!) and supply chain assistance (packing and delivery of donated goods). They are also accepting donations for the e-commerce platform development across different areas, namely website development, design, and payment gateway.
If you have a skill set and free time, reach out to Yellow House (I mean, look at the smiley faces above, we don't bite!) to be part of their amazing initiative.
Otherwise, talk to us to be part of our projects like this or Sunita Vincent's.