In 2012, Navin decided to quit his comfortable corporate job and spent months volunteering with non-profit organisations in Sri Lanka and Kenya. Upon his return, he decided to raise money to fund water projects for the villages he had visited. This small initiative led to the formation of Water and Toilets (WNT), a non-profit organisation that fundraised for water and sanitation projects.
Navin’s early success with WNT taught him many lessons and when he met Charu who was at the time working with UNHCR, they realised WNT needed a more sustainable business model if it was to continue running in the long term. They decided to pivot WNT and launched The MAD Experience (MAD) together in 2013.
MAD is a social business aimed at raising funds for grassroots organisations working on poverty-alleviation projects by empowering Malaysians to crowd-fund and volunteer on short field trips to understand the complexities of poverty and how projects are being implemented on the ground. We raised more than USD 80,000 and impacted about 9,000 people across Kenya, Sri Lanka and Cambodia by providing them with access to safe drinking water and toilets between 2013 and 2015.
In 2016, Navin was selected as an Acumen Global Fellow which took him to Bhopal, India where he worked as the interim COO for a social enterprise in the dairy sector. Charu moved to India too and worked closely with the founder of Muskaan, a local nonprofit organisation addressing issues of child protection, violence, and education among marginalised slum communities.
Our experience in India provided us with the opportunity to work directly with communities and really understand the challenges and complexities in creating lasting social impact. No doubt this left us with more questions than answers. We went back to the drawing board to analyse whether the MAD model was really the best way to make a difference.
We're now back in Malaysia and will continue to refine MAD to ensure it's always striving to make a difference in the best and most responsible way. We're committed to working closely with non-profit partners and communities, listening to them and developing projects together which allows both members of the public and the private sector to get involved.
We're excited to announce we've launched a new project to develop entrepreneurs within the Somali and Afghan refugee communities in Kuala Lumpur. Check out our projects page for further information.
- Navin & Charu-