Eighteen teenage girls reach out to MP to make Malaysia safer for girls

Fahmi (standing, centre) with WAO capacity building officers (standing) and several Gerak participants (seated). Photo: Women's Aid Organisation

Eighteen teenage girls from the Lembah Pantai grassroots community have reached out to their Member of Parliament with an appeal to make Malaysia safer for girls.

The girls who are part of the 'Gerak: Suara Kami' project, together with NGO Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO), shared a memorandum, zine and video with 29 demands to make Malaysia safer for girls to Fahmi Fadzil who is the Lembah Pantai MP and Parliamentary Special Select Committee on Women and Children Affairs member.

The project, an initiative coordinated by WAO with the support of Women’s Fund Asia (WFA), aims to build capacities of young women and teenage girls through a series of workshops and film screenings.

The girls discussed and responded to various issues including gender, identity, gender-based violence and discrimination.

The project presents an alternative space for its teenage participants to recognise and ask for their rights while also encouraging them to explore creative avenues to express themselves.

Together, the girls developed the zine, video and memorandum to advocate for their rights.

They are appealing to the government to prioritise the welfare of girls and children, to respect the freedom of expression of teenage girls as well as to protect women and children from violence, among others.

A group of teenage girls from the Lembah Pantai grassroots community reach out to their Member of Parliament with an appeal to make Malaysia safer for girls. Photo: FilepicA group of teenage girls from the Lembah Pantai grassroots community reach out to their Member of Parliament with an appeal to make Malaysia safer for girls. Photo: Filepic

“The Malaysian government ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), indicating our commitment to protect children’s rights in 1995. However, Malaysia has only reported on the progress of the implementation of CRC’s pillars twice since then,” said WAO.

“As such, it is paramount that we uphold this commitment and make policy decisions guided by the CRC. Malaysia must consistently act in the best interests of the child, and protect children’s right to participation,” it said.

“The urgency to protect children’s rights in accordance with the CRC is reflected in the voices featured in the 'Gerak: Suara Kami' zine which was presented to Fahmi. Articles of the Convention highlighted were Article 3 - Best Interests of the Child, Article 12 - Respect for the Views of the Child, Article 13 - Freedom of Expression, Article 19 - Protection from Violence, Abuse, and Neglect, Article 24 - Health and Health Services, Article 25 - Review of Treatment in Care, Article 26 - Social Security, Article 27 - Adequate Standard of Living, Article 28 - Right to Education, and Article 29 - Goals of Education,” said WAO.

The memorandum that was submitted highlights important and powerful issues about the lived realities of the participants. In it, they highlighted the ways that their rights as women and children have not been met nor realised.

As a society, we must ensure that we listen to their needs and act on these demands. Every person - including teenage girls - has a right to be heard, participate in decision-making and be the voice of change. Acting on this memorandum is a step towards building a better world - a world that acknowledges and validates the rights of women and children and provides spaces for them to be their own agents of change, said WAO.

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 0
Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!

Next In Family

'We have to do better': Nashville school shooting leaves families reeling
Starchild: Malaysian children enjoy relaxing beach holidays
11YO Malaysian boy with Down syndrome loves gardening, sells plants
Social enterprise helps poor families with subsidised groceries
Malaysian teacher shares journey to body acceptance through her embroidery
Malaysian senator Ras Adiba honoured by US Government for her advocacy work
Why early intervention programmes are crucial for children with special needs
Starchild: Malaysian children want to save the forests for a greener tomorrow
Malaysian Down syndrome youth discovers talent for baking, earns cash doing what he loves
'Wind phones' help family connect to their lost loved ones

Others Also Read