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WAO Celebrates 30 Years of Empowering Women

Press Statement from Women’s Aid Organisation

For Immediate Release


Women’s Aid Organisation
celebrates 30 years of empowering women

PETALING JAYA, 12 September 2012 – September 2012 is a commemorative month for the Women’s Aid Organisation. It has been 30 years since the organisation open its doors to women and children affected by domestic violence.

The chances are high that you may know a sister, a mother, cousin, friend or work colleague who is experiencing domestic violence. “It was a pivotal decision in 1982, when a courageous group of women and men decided to break the silence on domestic violence by opening Malaysia’s first Refuge for abused women and their children” said Mok Chuang Lian, President of WAO, speaking at the press conference.

Founder member Dato’ Noor Farida Ariffin added, “The WAO shelter was the brainchild of one of the country’s most distinguished statesmen, a gender-sensitive man and a loving husband and father who was deeply concerned about the plight of women who were the victims of abuse at the hands of their husbands and partners. He was none other than Tun Tan Siew Sin, Malaysia’s former Finance Minister and President of the MCA. His donation of RM34,000 for the specific purpose of founding a shelter for abused women, turned the dreams of women activists working on the issue of domestic violence into reality”.

The donation was entrusted to Puan Sri Chong Eu Ngoh, the former Deputy Director of the Welfare Department who subsequently approached a number of women activists, including Dato’ Noor Farida who was then the Director of the Legal Aid Bureau and the President of the Association of Women Lawyers, to set up a steering committee with the specific task of forming an organization to work on the issue of domestic violence.

30 years later, WAO continues to lead on the issue of domestic violence and advocate for effective implementation of the Domestic Violence Act (DVA). Since 1982, WAO has reached out and assisted about 40,000 women and their children through its shelter, telephone counselling and face to face counselling according to WAO’s Annual Statistics 2011. The organisation also played a key role in lobbying and successfully passing the DVA in 1994.

To mark WAO’s 30th anniversary, the Women’s Aid Organisation celebrates 30 years of empowering women with a Pesta WAO, an event that will bring everyone together, from pioneer volunteers to young supporters with interest in WAO’s work and women’s rights, in general.

“It will be a fun-filled family friendly event. We suggest that you bring a shopping bag as there will be plenty to buy at low prices and let’s not forget that Malaysians love their food. Enjoy delicious satays, ice cream potong while the kids bounce away on our inflatable castle. Meet the team of people who have made it happen in 1982. Rest assured, there’s something for everyone on that special day”, said Ivy Josiah, Executive Director of WAO.

WAO is also expanding its online presence with the launch of its twitter @womensaidorg. It will be another platform to interact with supporters aside from its existing website: and

The excitement continues for WAO as the organisation will be featured on the National Geographic channel on Malaysia Day. In 2011, philanthropic adventurer Morgan Parker of Wheel2Wheel travelled 25,000 kilometres on a 125-day journey through Asia to showcase the work of ten charitable organizations tackling some of the world’s most pressing humanitarian issues. WAO was the only chosen NGO in Malaysia.

To watch, tune in to National Geographic Adventure on Channel 148 via Unifi’s HyppTV to watch Women’s Aid Organisation in the Wheel2Wheel series on Sunday, 16 September at 8.05pm.

Women’s Aid Organisation gets to continue its work in eliminating domestic violence and violence against women for 30 years because of the support given by the community, who are also advocates of the cause.


For more information, please contact:

Ivy Josiah, Executive Director @
Vivian Yap, Projects Executive @
Ann Nunis, Projects Officer @

P.O Box 493, Jalan Sultan
46760 Petaling Jaya
Tel: 03 7957 5636 / 03 7957 0636
Fax: 03 7956 3237


About Women’s Aid Organisation:

Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) is a non-profit, non-religious and independent organization with a vision to create a society that persist the principles of gender equality. WAO’s mission is to promote and create respect, protection and fulfilment of equal rights for women and to work towards the elimination of discrimination against women, and to bring about equality between women and men.

WAO is involved in public education to create awareness of Violence Against Women and women’s rights, and does advocacy on legal reform, in particular, policies and laws that discriminate against women.

WAO provides shelter to battered women and their children, single and pregnant women, abused migrant women and trafficked women at the Refuge. WAO also offers face-to-face counseling, telephone counseling and legal advice to women in need of support.

At the WAO Child Care Centre, children of domestic violence survivors are given a safe space a safe home, education, clothes, food and a good support system to help them start their healing process away from the violence.


For more information about WAO, please visit or

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