Incepted in October 2015 as “Malaysia’s first social enterprise food truck”, Masala Wheels has served affordable and flavourful Indian and Sri Lankan cuisine to the public, while at the same time, used as a mobile empowerment for targeted community groups, especially the at-risk youths that have been involved in gangsterism, substance abuse and such, offering them job opportunities and even informal counselling sessions in the premise. Co-founder Kuhan Pathy has overseen the expansion of the brand to a brick-and-mortar café with in Section 1, Petaling Jaya in 2017, and last year, launched a social enterprise impact lab that looks into empowering marginalised youths from a very lower social economic background as well.
What do you think it is about food that contributes to not only the cause behind Masala Wheels, but also, the general camaraderie of it all?
They always say that a hungry person is an angry person (laughs), so the best time to send a message across is after someone has eaten. In Malaysia, it’s Heaven when it comes to food with the multiple varieties, and because of that, food not only attract people, but it unites different types of people.
How do you keep yourselves motivated to run Masala Wheels, when tackling a problem that is, you could say, never ending?
Realistically, you definitely can’t change the world, but you can start changing yourself and the people around you. Each time, it’s exhaustive, especially when you have to manage at-risk youths. But I also know for a matter of fact that if I did not give them the platform, or the helping hand to lift them up, they would’ve made headlines in a more unfortunate way. They might look small, only a person or two, but the actual transformation I see in these youths is what inspires me to move on forward.