Upcycling fabrics gives a chance for B40 women to stand on their feet

Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah launching a recycling bin for unwanted fabrics near her office today.

PETALING JAYA: A student-led social enterprise, known as the Kain Movement, wants to empower women, especially those in the B40 group, to generate a side income by upcycling old fabrics into new, everyday items.

The group, which started operating two months ago, consists of Malaysian students who want to start a social enterprise with the aim of tackling social issues such as poverty.

Its co-founder, Amiruddin Ismail, said they were collecting unwanted fabrics from various sources nationwide.

“They can be turned into something new so they would not go to waste just like that,” he said.

As such, unwanted fabrics would be collected from garment factories and corporate bodies. They include unused table cloth or any other fabrics.

Amiruddin said the products to be made would depend on the materials collected.

“Some fabrics are more suitable to be made into tote bags.

“We have partners to conduct workshops to train mothers, especially from the low-income group.”

Ng Yee Luan, who is also one of the co-founders, said at the moment they were focusing on reaching out to mothers in Petaling Jaya.

It is estimated that 2,000 tonnes of fabric waste lands up daily in landfills.

Amiruddin said they had partnered with Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah to reach out to the B40 women in her parliamentary constituency, like those staying at Desa Mentari.

“This can help them to improve their side income.”

The group has also partnered with Kloth Cares to set up a fabric collection bin at Maria’s office.

Maria said it was a good initiative to empower women, especially housewives, who have to stay at home. She said it might be hard for them to go out to work when they have to take care of their children and the family.

“They can stay at home and take part in this activity to get an extra income.

“We do have poverty in Malaysia. We did a house survey on 620 people and there were still people who earn RM500 and below a month.”

She estimated that more than 10 areas in her constituency had a poverty problem.

Nik Suzila Nik Hassan, who is the co-founder of Kloth Cares, said she was interested in working with enthusiastic young people.

“They know what they want. They give new life to unwanted textiles and collaborate with underprivileged women.

“Our aim is to collect more unwanted fabrics from the landfills. In less than a year, we’ve managed to collect nearly 200,000kg of unwanted textiles. We see this reaching a million kg by 2021.”