The Picha Open House started from a very simple thought of wanting to sit down, spend time and eat with our Picha families during Ramadan and Raya season 2016. Who would have thought that it turned out to be sessions after sessions of amazing meals and interaction, allowing the public to understand the life journey of our Picha families have gone through war or persecutions.
Since we decided to open the homes of our Picha families in 2016, we have brought together more than 1000 people from all walks of life to have a feast and understand more about the refugee issues in Malaysia.
Last Saturday, I had the opportunity to host our friends from YPO, a global platform for chief executives to engage, learn and grow. The night was a “disruptive experience” for them.
As many of them are used to spending time with their families on a Saturday night, breaking fast with a Palestinian family that night seemed disruptive (in a good way) to their weekly routine. Many of them were really looking forward for it. One even flew all the way from Johor just to attend this session and it was really heart warming to know that Malaysians from other states are relatively interested about Picha. We are glad that Picha somehow manage to bring people from different parts of Malaysia together.
Before diving into the mouth-watering spread of food, everyone shared their reason of joining the Picha Open House. Majority of them were there to have more knowledge regarding refugee issue in Malaysia and to find out more about the work that Picha does. Some even brought their kids to let them experience eating with strangers and a have different view in life.
And even when I thought Picha Open House is only a one-off experience for many, the organiser, Elizabeth and her husband have actually attended 3 of our open houses starting from our Iraqi family, Afghan family, and then this night with our Palestinian family. They shared how different houses gave them such different emotions, stories, lessons, and also, FOOD! The Picha Open House has never failed to surprise them, and we are extremely thankful for Picha Heroes like them.
As I shared more about what Picha does, and about the refugee issues that are currently happening both in Malaysia and the world, I also did not forget to share about the man that has impacted Picha so much – Zaza. No one has ever said that they’re not amazed and inspired by this wonderful man who always give his best to the world. His story never fail to bring tears in people’s eyes.
Dalia, our host of the night, also share about her story, her hopes and her dreams. The night ended with Dalia’s kids starting to get comfortable with the guests and climbing on each other’s back. We saw barriers and walls being broken, and at the end of the night, there is no difference between Dalia and the guests. They are all parents with the same hopes and dreams for their next generation.
Hugs of encouragements flooded Dalia before the guests left the home with a stomach filled with food, and a heart filled with LOVE and HOPE.
Open Houses have never failed to gather the right amount of energy and love to help Picha and our families move forward. It has never failed to break barriers between our Picha Heroes and Picha families. It has never failed to allow the voiceless to have a voice and gain back their dignity.
Most importantly, it has never failed to open the minds of many individuals to be part of the change that the world needs today.