This year, Women's Aid Organisation (WAO) commemorates 40 years of helping women survivors of domestic violence and their children, as well as those who have gone through other forms of gender-based violence such as sexual harassment, rape and bullying.
WAO's 40th anniversary celebrations will comprise a series of online talks and physical events to showcase the work the women's NGO has done. There will be a coffee table book - 40 Inspiring Women - on individuals who have made a positive impact on society. These include unsung heroes such as WAO's residents and former residents, volunteers and others in society such as businesswomen who have broken the glass ceiling and contributed to the nation.
Journey down memory lane
Looking back at the past 40 years, the women's NGO has come a long way since it started in the early 1980s, and been part of momentous events in the legislative history of Malaysia:
Pertubuhan Pertolongan Wanita (Women's Aid Organisation) applies to Registrar of Societies Malaysia.
Single mother with two kids read about the WAO shelter in the newspapers and seeks help.
WAO officially registered as society.
Tun Tan Siew Sin donated his prize money awarded for public service, to set up a shelter for battered women.
WAO shelter fully operational within one year.
WAO has given refuge to 57 women and 75 children and counselled 200 battered women over the phone.
Joint Action Group for Gender Equality established/renamed.
Purchased women's refuge property.
Childcare centre (CCC) established.
Domestic Violence Act 1994.
The Child Act 2001.
The Joint Action Group for Gender Equality grows to 14 organisations across Malaysia.
Malaysian NGO CEDAW Alternative Report 2012.
WAO launches Think I Need Aid (TINA) WhatsApp/SMS Hotline.
WAO trains Crisis Support Officers (volunteers, CSOs) to handle WAO Hotline.
Working Together: Case Studies In Domestic Violence Response published.
WAO Childcare centre burned down.
Domestic Violence Shelter Standards And Toolkit published.
Sexual Offenses Against Children Act 2017.
Amendments to the Domestic Violence Act 1994.
TINA's Journey: Poetry By Survivors Of Domestic Violence published.
Perspectives On Domestic Violence published.
Human Trafficking In Malaysia: A Focus On Women And Children published.
Capacity Building & Partnership Division established.
Distribution of WAO CEDAW handbook and training with Members of Parliament.
WAO Community Selamat programme launched.
Jawatankuasa Keganasan Rumah Tangga (JKRT) (National Domestic Violence Committee).
Ground breaking ceremony for rebuilding of Childcare Centre (CCC) with REDA Youth.
WAO gender mainstreaming programme Level Up developed.
WAO Girl Empowerment programme established.
The Status Of Women’s Human Rights: 24 Years of CEDAW In Malaysia published.
Where’s The Child: The Rights Of Child Domestic Violence Survivors published.
The Shelter Needs Of Domestic Violence Survivors And The Availability And Accessibility Of Shelters And Related Services In Selangor And Kuala Lumpur published.
Shadow pandemic WAO expansion to online.
UN Agencies partner with WAO.
Gender Responsive Budget memorandum and roundtable.
Research team established.
WAO Services Centre established.
Paternity Leave & Maternity Leave - amendments to Employment Act 1955.
Anti Sexual Harassment legislation - amendments to Employment Act 1955.
Anti Discrimination Against Women Act - amendments to Employment Act 1955.
Ministry training Gender Responsive Budgeting in Practice (GRBiP).
Anti Stalking Act.