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Wednesday September 4, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Wednesday September 4, 2013 MYT 3:29:56 PM
by sharon ling
Help is here: Fatimah (centre) and Women’s Bureau director Norjanah Razali looking at a poster of the crisis phoneline with Margaret (right) and Teo (left).
KUCHING: The Sarawak Women for Women Society (SWWS) should look into conducting its rural awareness and empowerment programme in urban areas as well.
Making this call, Welfare, Women and Family Development Minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah said the society’s Empowering Rural Girls (ERG) programme was mainly carried out in villages in the Baram area.
However, she said there was a need for the programme in urban areas because issues of sexual harassment or abuse and healthy relationships were not confined to rural areas only.
“We need to create awareness of these issues among urban children and youths as well. It would be pertinent to conduct the programme in urban areas to inculcate values of self-respect and self-esteem and raise awareness about women’s rights and protection,” she said during a courtesy call
by SWWS at her office here yesterday.
SWWS vice-president Ann Teo said the ERG programme aimed to raise awareness among rural girls and women about their rights and how to protect themselves from abuse or exploitation.
She said it also targeted the staff of rural schools and agencies like the Welfare Department on these issues and handling the disclosure of abuses.
“It is usually conducted over three days and covers the range of sexual abuse and exploitation, from things like being cheated by men and harassment to rape. We want to create awareness that these are crimes and should be reported.
“On the second day, we usually have separate programmes for students. For primary school pupils, we have a module called ‘I Am Special’ which teaches them about personal safety.
“For secondary school students, we conduct a module on healthy relationships,” she said.
Meanwhile, SWWS is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its Women Crisis Phoneline service with a fundraising dinner themed “Helping Women Help Themselves” at Harbour View Hotel here on Sept 28.
Its president Margaret Bedus said the phoneline, which provides para-counselling for women in distress, was run by volunteers 14 hours a week.
“It is an achievement for us that after 25 years the phoneline is still active. It’s quite a challenge because everything is done on a voluntary basis,” she said, adding that there were currently about 30 volunteers staffing the phoneline.
Margaret said the society’s other activities include a drop-in centre at its office in Rock Road, public awareness programmes and outreach programmes for students.
“We are an issue-oriented organisation which focuses on women’s issues. Last year we received the inaugural Excellent Organisation award during the state-level Women’s Day celebration and we are thankful for the state government’s recognition of our contribution.”
Fatimah urged the public to support the society’s fundraising
dinner, saying that the members were passionate in what they did and were clear about their mission.
Tickets for the dinner are still available and priced at RM50 and RM100. Those interested can call SWWS at 082-416 053, while the crisis phoneline’s number is 082-422 660.
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East Malaysia, fatimah abdullah, swws, awareness, crisis phoneline
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