ISSN : 2047-2528

>>  Article Abstract
 
CHALLENGES FACED BY WOMEN REFUGEES IN INITIATING ENTREPRENEURIAL VENTURES IN A HOST COUNTRY: CASE STUDY OF UNHCR WOMEN REFUGEES IN MALAYSIA
 
Selvamalar Ayadurai
 
 
As of December 2009, 80,000 refugees and asylum-seekers have been documented by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and of this, 35% are refugee women. As Malaysia is not a signatory to the 1951 Convention, refugees and asylum-seekers in Malaysia are considered to be “illegal” and are subjected to arrest, detention and deportation. They live in constant fear and often prefer to make themselves invisible, living in unsafe and dangerous places that are overcrowded and lack proper ventilation, sanitation and hygiene. This research paper addresses two major challenges faced by women refugees in Malaysia; firstly, challenges faced as a refugee in a host country, and secondly, challenges faced in initiating an entrepreneurial venture in an adverse environment. The paper focuses on four main research objectives: i) reasons why the women refugees chose Malaysia as their host country; ii) challenges faced by the women refugees in Malaysia; iii) challenges faced in initiating their entrepreneurial ventures; and iv) skills they require to succeed in their entrepreneurial ventures. Five community groups were identified for the purposes of the study, namely, the Myanmar Muslims, Rohingyas of Myanmar, Sri Lankans, Somalis and Afghans. Exploratory research in the form of in-depth interviews was conducted with a minimum of 2 sample groups of each community group. The women in this study were given micro-credit financing not exceeding USD 600.00 using the concept of the Grameen Banking System to initiate small home-based businesses under an initiative by the UNHCR in partnership with a Malaysian NGO. Whilst much research has been conducted on women entrepreneurs, there has been minimal research on entrepreneurship by women refugees. This study aims to highlight the plight of women refugees in initiating entrepreneurial ventures in Malaysia.

 Full Text
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
© 2011. Society for Business Research Promotion. All rights reserved.