The Asli Co.: From The Ground Up
A Heart For Hearth And Home
GUEST WRITTEN BY JEYNA GRACE
“It was an Aha! moment when we first came up with this idea because I felt that I had just found my calling.” - Xin
It’s a specific calling, as with all callings—Jason and Xin had long desired for an avenue to empower the Orang Asli community to stand on their own two feet. Uncommon and distinct in nature, this calling brought them together in 2017, making The Asli.Co a reality.
Jason and Xin first met as volunteers for Epic Home, building houses for the indigenous people. Despite the many volunteering opportunities, they believe that building a house had a bigger impact as it meant giving families a home.
“When we hand over a new house to a family, the feeling is priceless. And that was the driving force that led to us building over 30 homes collectively.” - Jason
With a shared passion for the Orang Asli community, the pair decided to start an initiative that would help stay-at-home mothers earn a sustainable income through handmade products. Starting the venture with Anisah and Ayu—the mothers of The Asli.Co—they worked as a team in developing their first product: cement pots that were crafted and painted by the mothers themselves.
“It was a challenging task to achieve a consistent quality product and it took multiple trips, over several months, to the kampung to learn alongside Anisah and Ayu to perfect the pots. Our first batch of pots all came out lopsided because the ground, where it was placed on to dry, was not level. We also struggled to remove the inner pot moulds, destroying the moulds after one to two uses. But, what kept us motivated was Anisah and Ayu’s tenacity, persistence, and willingness to learn, which encouraged us to persist in this venture.” - Xin
Despite the uncertainties such an endeavour entailed, the determination and eagerness of Anisah and Ayu made every challenge worth overcoming. And though the journey has been taxing, as both Jason and Xin man every aspect of the project by themselves—dedicating weekends and after work hours to packaging, website management, and the handling of sales and delivery—the joy on the mothers’ faces when they receive income for their hard work, alongside the support and encouragement they’ve received thus far, has made the blood, sweat, and tears worthwhile.
“Constantly thinking of our goal to help the women in need and the children whose lives can be better keeps us going.” - Xin
For most, juggling a day job and the different commitments in life is tough enough. But for Jason and Xin, they’ve found the perseverance to live out their passion with firm belief in the impact that they can make in the lives of those in need.
“When mothers are able to earn and provide better standards of living for the household and their children, children are much more likely to stay in school and have an education to secure better jobs in the future.” - Jason
When asked what Malaysians can do to support The Asli.Co, Jason says that aside from purchasing their products, he hopes to partner with skilled entrepreneurs and volunteers who want to make an impact in fighting poverty by teaching Orang Asli modern handicrafts. With 30% of The Asli.Co profits going toward providing water filters, for clean drinking water for the Orang Asli communities, the support from fellow Malaysians will make a monumental difference in the lives of these families—whether it be creating more platforms for them to escape the poverty cycle with their handiwork or by providing for their basic needs.
For more information or to purchase their products, visit their website below!
The author, Jeyna Grace, worked in the publishing industry for over four years, where she engaged with brands such as Disney and Mattel on licensed projects in Malaysia and Singapore. Her two fantasy novels, ‘The Battle for Oz’ and ‘The Slave Prince’, were published by Inkshares in 2015 and 2018 respectively. She also won the Geek & Sundry Fantasy contest in 2016 and was nominated as a CLEO HotShot in 2018.