AirAsia Foundation showcases first ever refugee community festival in their own home, RedQ

 Sharing by Dr Munawwar Salim, Chief of Operations of IMARET, a medical response team that has been serving at Rohingya refugee camps.

Sharing by Dr Munawwar Salim, Chief of Operations of IMARET, a medical response team that has been serving at Rohingya refugee camps.

26 November 2018 - What is home to you? AirAsia Foundation, the philanthropic arm of AirAsia recently opened up its home, AirAsia RedQ, to the public and refugee community to showcase AirAsia’s inclusive workplace culture and highlight the innovative ways that the social enterprises have been able to help improve the livelihood of refugees in Malaysia.

Executive Director Yap Mun Ching said, “We wanted to introduce more people to social enterprises that AirAsia Foundation supports and at the same time draw attention to the challenges that refugees face. We wanted also to welcome the refugees to our own home in RedQ, in the spirit of our Allstar values of putting people first.”

During the ‘In Search of Home’ - a community festival with refugees at RedQ, over 100 guests were given a tour of RedQ, viewed a photo exhibit called Pieces of Home by UNHCR and listened to sharings sessions by Nahid Kazemi, co-founder of social enterprise label Nazanin and Afghan refugee, as well as Dr Munawwar Salim, Chief of Operations of IMARET, a medical response team that has been serving at the Malaysian Field Hospital at the Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh since Oct 2017. Nazanin currently retails its range of colourful bags at AirAsia Foundation’s social enterprise pop-up shop and collaborates with AirAsia Foundation to upcycle expired life jackets into lifestyle accessories while AirAsia is a flight sponsor for volunteer doctors travelling to Bangladesh under IMARET’s banner.

The highlight of the evening was a powerful play titled ‘Screaming in Silence’ on child marriage by Parastoo Theatre, a troupe of Afghan refugees that practices an interactive theatre that invites audiences to explore solutions to the social problem presented in the play. To cap the event, guests were served dinner cooked by refugee families from Syria, Palestine and Iraq by award-winning social enterprise The Picha Project.

Parastoo means swallow in Persian and in symbolically for the refugees, 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. Parastoo Theater and The Picha Project are both grantees of AirAsia Foundation.

Guests also had the pleasure of shopping for their holiday season gifts at Destination: GOOD, AirAsia Foundation’s social enterprise pop-up shop. 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 including apparel by Natra (by Afghan refugees), accessories by Earth Heir x MADE51 and homewares by Kaoprise (by Myanmar refugees).  For more information about AirAsia Foundation, go to https://www.airasiafoundation.com/