During our stay in KL, we went to a dinner organized by The Picha Project, a local enterprise that seeks to empower refugees by giving them opportunities in a country where they are not legally allowed to work or go to school.

I didn’t know anything about the refugee situation in Malaysia before this evening with The Picha Project, Zaza, and his family. And that’s made me realize I need to do a better job of understanding each of the countries I’ll be traveling to over the next year.

Zaza, his beautiful wife, and their very rambunctious son escaped their war-torn home in Syria to land in KL with no support and incredible obstacles. The Malaysian government will allow refugees to enter the country, but then they can be arrested for trying to get a job, or even trying to set up schools for the children in their communities.

In addition to refugees from Syria, there is a significant population from Myanmar.

It was a wonderful evening with Zaza, his family, and the Picha Project… simultaneously enlightening, sobering, and hopeful in that small efforts like this dinner may not change policy, politics, or bias… but it can bring knowledge and good bit of joy.

To learn more about The Picha Project, visit: