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Internship experience in a glance

Posted on 09 Jan 12:18 , 0 comments

For me, as a young adult dipping my toe in the competitive working world, an internship seems like a necessary thing to do for the survival of my future. Dramatic, I know.

So, with this in mind, I began searching the net and asking around for internship opportunities suitable for a second year engineering student. I found several that were appealing and fitting for me, one of them being Biji-Biji.

Having read their website and going through their facebook page, I could tell that Biji-Biji was a friendly and welcoming company. All their ads about any type of recruitment they had always oozed a sense of willingness to welcome anyone with an equal amount of willingness - not to work for them, but to work with them.

I felt rather excited when I came across Biji-Biji - what they do and what they stand for is really awesome so I just had to give it a shot.

On the day of the interview, my expectation was that I would be sitting in a waiting room with my crippling anxiety doing its daily run and when I meet my scary new boss who would grill me with questions regarding sustainability and the environment etc, I would do horribly.

But what really happened was the exact opposite. My interview took place in a casual environment - the mamak stall where I met two of their co-founders, Zoe and Gurpreet. The interview mostly composed of the co-founders trying to get to know me, my interest and what I expected to gain from them. From the interview, all the positive vibes I got from their social media interface proved to be right and so much more. By the end of the interview, they had said that they’d be glad for me to come to work with them, and I felt the same way too.

As I write this post now, I am nearly 1 month old in Biji-Biji. I work in the R&D department with 6 other great people, including Gurpreet. To be frank, R&D seems like the center point of all that goes on in Biji-Biji. With that being said, the R&D team always tries to be as efficient as we can and we ensure that our communication is always as best as we can be. It’s easy to have good communication when you have a boss that repeatedly says he loves questions and he enjoys being bugged.

Ultimately, I can confidently say that the work atmosphere is, as I said, open, welcoming and full of enthusiasm. You are not afraid to ask questions, to make mistakes, to give your opinion. The conventional boss-employee relationship doesn’t exist - you feel like you are friends with everyone and your age or your experience (or lack thereof) doesn’t play any significant role in feeling belonging or contributing to this workplace.   

 

A quick photo session after our digital marketing training

A quick photo session after a Digital Marketing training

 

I was given the opportunity to represent Biji-Biji in a debate competition to pitch in our innovating ideas to the public and won the first prize! 

My workplace with some of the R&D team

 

What have Biji-Biji been doing for the past 7 months?

Posted on 19 Sep 12:20 , 0 comments

It’s been 7 months since we’ve updated the news feature, we’ve been really occupied with so many project, of course! From art installations to having workshop for people of all ages; we’ve also got visits by young start-up companies from across South East Asia. We’ve been travelling around Malaysian states, teaching participants about upcycling and as well, with hopes of creating a flourishing creative scene.

 

One of the events would be the Open Source Circular Economy (OSCE) Days KL.We were very excited to not only share with city dwellers but also rural villagers. Ourfirst workshop was with the Orang Asli of Kampung Pos Gedong in Bidor, Perak. The village had no road linkages, let alone internet access. Hearing of renewable energy and sustainability meant a whole fresh dynamic of understanding their daily lives, and the future of their environment.

Of course, we didn’t just go there, held a workshop, and called it a day. We introduced and went through the basic mechanics of operating and maintaining the 3 renewable energy generators. Solar powered street lights, pico hydro-generator, and as well as a pedal-powered USB charger. You may think those generators sound fancy and complicated,  but they are actually simple components that most of villagers can do. And of course, the technology to them are open source!

Other than the mechanical generators, we also shared with the community a beautiful time. The air was filled with excitement from people of all ages. This project gave us an opportunity to expand our understanding of, spirit and awareness not only the urban areas but also, the rural which has made us really keen to carry on this project into a high impact project in Pos Gedong, and possibly many more off-the-grid villages in Malaysia in the future.

 

We also travelled to the east of Malaysia. Kuching, Sarawak, haven for the hornbills and on of the oldest rainforests in the world. We weren’t based in the city itself but, in beautiful Santubong. In Sarawak Cultural Village at Mount Santubong. We put up our lighting installations and also workshops for the families and people around the world that gathered for the 3 days of the Rainforest World Music Festival 2016.

 

In Bangsar Village or Publika, there was a bicycle link to a blender displayed in the middle of the mall. This time, it wasn’t a juicer but a plastic shredder! Based on the Precious Plastic Community open source project, we worked together with Kiehl's, the cosmetics brand, who took the opportunity to bring the machine around public places in Kuala Lumpur, advocating the plastic recycling of your healthcare or beauty products containers. We kept all the shredded plastic, and plan to use them for the next phase of the Precious Plastic project. What made this project more awesome was that the plastic recycling machine can be built by anyone! It brings recycling down to a community level so that anyone could operate it and everyone can now easier practise the elusive process of recycling.

 

 

Then, there was the most memorable of moments in our years of building and creating. In the Urbanscapes 2016 Closing Party, not only did we build a Steampunk style Stage and another stagewrapped like a 'Nasi Lemak’.Built with scrap material, of course. William, who regularly heads the construction of our temporary structures and large installations, took the opportunity to announce his dive into married life! Proposing to his girlfriend, in front of the festival’s audience, on the stage that he built! Talk about D.I.Y.

(Credit to @cmxchange)

At the same time, Gurpreet, our co-founder, was selected for the ChangemakerXchange program in Japan. ChangemakerXchange is a global collaboration platform for young social entrepreneurs. It gathers some of the world’s most exciting changemakers at summits around the world for the exchange and co-creation of ideas. 20 people were selected globally and had the fortune of greeting, meeting and sharing with changemakers from around the world, in Osaka, Japan!

Of course, that wasn’t all that happened in the past 7 months. Being in Biji-biji, you see changes and developments taking place by the day! For near-constant updates, follow us on Facebook and Instagram!

What is our September plan?

Posted on 10 Sep 15:00 , 0 comments

 

Hello Johoreans! We will be visiting your beautiful state!

Let us tell you what and wherewe’ll be appearing! We’re doing lots of different stuffs the next three weeks, so check out which ones you’d not want to miss! There are workshops too and we guarantee you won’t be leaving empty handed.

You can find us in 3 places. The first stop would be at Avira Sales Gallery by E&O on 10th of September. For this round, we will be holding 2 types of workshops; the terrarium workshop and the chopstick lamp workshop. Simple yet fun workshops that uses stuff you can always find at home! Don’t worry, we will provide everything, so you don’t have to look through those kitchen drawers or pay an extra cent for it. We will also be featuring an upcycling showcase!

The next stop would be at ISKarnival Kreatif in Medini Mall on 17th to 18th of September where we are going to display our interactive creations; the Bicycle Juicer, Singing Plant and also, the Musical Laser Instrument. There are so many things to do besides what we’re putting up; a film showcase, interactive arts, live music gigs and so much more. And it is all free! Not only that, we are calling all potential collaborators to work with us in producing more and more awesome work. Curious to know more? Come over and find out yourself! Or call up our RnD ‘maitre di’, Gurpreet (012 214 5573).

And finally, we’ve come to telling you what we’re most excited about! We’re putting up a big installation! The first of its kind, a musically interactive installation made out of bamboos!A public jamming session to bring out the musician that undeniably exists in everybody! It is going to bring people together with some natural harmonies! Under the bamboo hut, we havea wind chime, a xylophone, drums, an angklung and a tambourine; and of course, made of components you can find in the household. We’ll be calling the installation, ‘JamBoo’. LOL!

A little sneak peak for the curious cats on what we are building!

 

Hope to see all you lovely southern seedlings!                  

Why is Biji-biji Initiative the new Social Enterprise?

Posted on 12 Feb 13:08 , 1 comment

Common Social Enterprise models aim to solve social, environmental or economic issues by:

  • Offering different payment tiers to different customer tiers
  • Donating one product for each product sold
  • Micro-franchising opportunities for entrepreneurs without initial investment
  • Including the underprivileged as clients/consumers, or as producers/entrepreneurs/employees

Biji-biji Initiative’s business model does not fit within any of the four common models listed above. We are different in the way we conduct our day-to-day business. We simply aim to share progressive ideas with everyone and to show that a business can be conducted ethically, where greater social, environmental and economic benefits can be transferred to the community, environment and economy.

 

Here are some of Biji-biji Initiative’s principles and promises to the world!


We create Value for Waste Materials

What is considered waste depends on how one values a certain type of resource.  If one can add a tad bit of creativity and foresee the use of a material past its current state and form, waste can be made useful. With our products, we showcase how waste can be transformed into beautiful products.


We address Income Inequality

All employees of Biji-biji Initiative earn at least 2.2 times more than Malaysia’s minimum wage. We also have a salary cap of 5 times between the highest and lowest earners. This ratio may have to be reviewed in the future to reflect the need for different skill levels and competencies as the organization grows.


We are Open Source

Our designs are shared online for non-commercial use, which means the rights to study, change and distribute our designs are open to anyone for non-commercial purpose. This allows the designs to be constantly improved upon and further developed.


We run Open Workshops

Our Open Workshops. are equipped with tools and machinery, and serve as prototype development and production centers. Here, members of the public are encouraged to take part in the design process, learn and develop solutions.


We abide by Open Book Finance Principle

Every member of our team has access to the information on project value, total budget and cost breakdown. We create a culture where employees at all levels understand how their particular task fits within the company’s financial plan.


We measure Our Products

Biji Score is a point-based scoring system developed based on our Sustainability Indicators. It measures the social, environmental and economic impact of making one unit of a product. You can find the Biji Score for all our retail products we sell, at our online shop.


For more information on our policies, check out our Governance Framework at http://biji-biji.com/pages/governance-framework

5 Fancy Upcycled Bags Only Made With Seat Belt Material

Posted on 19 Jan 06:02 , 0 comments

Did you know that seat belts are one of the most wasted materials in the world? As a matter of fact, the large scale production of cars causes this huge waste. So then, what to do with this material? Destroy it, as it happens most of the time…which is not an eco-friendly donation!

Why Batik Can Improve Your Life?

Posted on 19 Jan 03:49 , 0 comments

First of all, we are glad to announce that Biji-biji has gathered the materials necessary to kick start a mini batik studio at their headquarters, in the center of Kuala Lumpur!

Batik is a centuries old textile art based on the technique of decorating and (repeatedly) dyeing a fabric by using removable wax to save the parts of the fabric that are not intended to be dyed.

Quiz: 3 Situations Which Will Define What Kind Of Eco-friendly Person You Are!

Posted on 19 Jan 02:36 , 1 comment

Are you really eco-friendly? Here are three possible situations where you can test your eco-friendliness. Select the option that describes you the most. This quiz is so easy you don't even need a paper and pen. 

Sustainability Through Creativity, A Quick Tour Of Top 5 Projects By Biji-biji Initiative

Posted on 12 Jan 11:16 , 0 comments

Sustainability - The very word conjures up an image of scientists and environmentalists in business suits conducting presentations filled with boring facts, data and charts and so on. Welcome to the exact opposite- a hip cool organisation - Biji-Biji Initiative in Kuala Lumpur formed by a young team who have showcased that being sustainable can be interesting and fun.

12 Crazy Resolutions Which Will Make This World Better

Posted on 07 Jan 13:30 , 0 comments

And yet again, we come to a new year! And as the whole world rejoices and celebrates the ending of a whole calendar of events filled with 365 days worth of highs and lows, welcoming an entirely new one with open arms, we're also reminded of the harsh reality, that a new year also means an aging self, and a weary earth. But hey! that doesn't mean some reflection and some self renewal can't do the spirits good. Here are 12 thoughts to consider doing for the self, the society and the land.

4 Simple Yet Crucial Bags That Could Save The Future Of The World

Posted on 05 Jan 13:30 , 0 comments

Plastic is the most polluting material in the world. Its waste that is unfortunately found in all countries of the world, ejected beyond borders of the world into the ocean, forming uninhabited islands that are more often larger than many countries, and growing larger and larger each minute.

Advertising is also a major consumer of plastics. They are found everywhere including advertising banners seeking to catch our eye. The lifespan of these banners are often long. Much, much longer than the time short time they are used for.