Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) Malaysia
The WAO or Women’s Aid Organisation is a neutral community which was established in 1982 to provide all types of social services for women in Malaysia. It is a non-partisan and totally apolitical and non-governmental organisation where its main philosophy is to fight violence against Malaysian women. In 1982, it opened the first Women’s Refuge which was to provide shelter, child support and counselling to women who are facing such problems.
It then established the Anak Angkat program in three years later which was a Child Sponsorship program created to cater for the needs of the ex-resident’s children’s education. After that in 1990,t he Child Care Center was opened which was the first in Malaysia, providing home for the children.
In recent years, WAO has been involved in many activities, programs and events to create awareness as well as to protect violence against women as well as to uphold their rights. Apart from shelter and counselling, WAO is also involved with providing legal assistance as well as fighting for policies and regulations which discriminates women in Malaysia. Generally, WAO is the one-stop center for women and their children to go to if they are being abused in any way where WAO would be their spokesperson towards the legal authorities and any other parties involved.
Fundamentally, WAO fights for women to be respected and treated with equal rights in society, at work, at home and anywhere in Malaysia. Women and their children who are suffering any sort of abuse whether it is mental, physical or sexual could get help from WAO as well as gain temporary refuge services. On top of that, it is also instrumental in providing any other related type of emotional or social support for any women who needs such services.
In 2004, WAO opened its WAO Center which is their third where administration and advocacy services are carried out. This is also the resource center catered for the public where one can find out more information and where to go on issues involving violence against women. Here is where face-to-face counselling is carried out, briefings, workshops as well as any other type of related activities. Other services provided by WAO include telephone counselling, providing sexual assault helpline, child care and many others.