Nourishing communities through hands-on training

Some of the participants during their food truck business trial run.

MALAYSIA is renowned for its diverse culinary landscape but on the flip side is the alarming wastage of food.

According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Food Waste Index Report 2024, Malaysia recorded 2.7 million tonnes in 2022.

Food Aid Foundation (FAF) is a non-governmental organisation that is dedicated to salvaging surplus food and redistributing it to marginalised communities.

Recognised for its impactful endeavours, FAF received the Star Social Impact Grant (SSIG) in 2022 to further propel its mission.

FAF’s outreach goes beyond food distribution; it envisions uplifting communities by imparting invaluable life skills, hence the introduction of its Gerak-Rezeki Food and Beverage (F&B) Entrepreneur Development (GFED) programme.

GFED is aimed at empowering communities from underserved backgrounds with culinary and entrepreneurial acumen.

Participants undergo a transformative 12-month journey.

The programme starts with courses in food handling, followed by modules encompassing culinary techniques, menu curation and intricacies of F&B business management.

GFED collaborates with industry professionals and culinary mentors to ensure a nurturing environment.

Fifty individuals enrolled in the inaugural food handling course with selected participants advanced to the next stage, where they received specialised training tailored to their aspirations.

To date, 14 participants have been selected to undergo FAF’s courses in culinary and F&B business skills training.

Under the guidance of experienced chefs, the participants learn how to improve their culinary skills as well as essential entrepreneurial skills, such as business planning and marketing strategies.

The participants’ journey is further assessed through a practical trial run in real-world scenarios.

They have to manage a food truck business with a project that covers every aspect, ranging from procurement to sales.

“Three of our beneficiaries are now running their own businesses since completing the programme,” said FAF Programme and Corporate Social Responsibility manager Muhammad Izzul Izham Mohammad Nordin.

“They are operating an online dessert shop, providing catering service in the city centre and offering customised menus tailored to their client’s orders.”

To ensure their beneficiaries succeed, FAF continues to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of its GFED programme.

“We encourage them to continuously engage with us for advice and support,” he said.

“Some even return as volunteers to give back to the community,” he added.

“It is heartwarming to see the positive changes in participants’ lives after they join the programme.”

One of the beneficiaries, Ann Annama from Klang, said the programme was life-changing.

“I was making losses in my online dessert business and was close to giving up until I joined the GFED programme,” she said.

“With the new entrepreneurial skills I learnt, I am able to see the wide range of opportunities.

“From someone who used to be timid, I have gained more confidence in holding conversations with my customers and business partners.

“I have also been able to tap into the power of business networking opportunities.”

Grateful for the opportunity, she hoped that the programme would be expanded to reach people from marginalised communities, especially women.

FAF is now planning to expand its outreach to other states, following its the programme’s success in Kuala Lumpur,

“We plan to expand the programme to Kelantan this year as there are a lot of eligible participants there,” said Muhammad Izzul Izham.

He expressed gratitude to Star Foundation for entrusting FAF with the grant to allow them to continue the GFED programme.

For details on FAF, visit

SSIG is an initiative by Star Foundation, aimed at supporting impact-driven and sustainable projects by NGOs and social enterprises in enhancing the lives of local communities and safeguarding the environment.

Star Foundation is the charitable arm of Star Media Group, which aims to deliver meaningful initiatives with lasting outcomes to diverse groups of beneficiaries.

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