Women’s Aid Organization (WAO)
Selangor | Malaysia
Malaysia-001 | Print This Position Description
WAO is a women's organization focusing on violence against women. WAO believes that all human beings have the right to self-determination and should have control over the conditions that shape their lives. The goals of WAO are to provide temporary refuge and after care to battered women and their children, to encourage these women to determine their own future and to help achieve it, and to cater to the educational and emotional needs of the children involved. WAO also conducts research on domestic violence and lobbies for reform. Language requirement: English. Proficiency in Malay, Mandarin or Tamil helpful, but not required.
About the Organization
WAO is a women's organization focusing on violence against women. The fundamental belief of WAO is that no one deserves to be battered. WAO believes that all human beings have the right to self determination and should have control over the conditions that shape their lives. The goals of WAO are: 1. To provide on request temporary refuge and after care to battered women and their children, and to abused foreign domestic workers. 2. To encourage these women to determine their own future and to help achieve it. 3. To cater to the educational and emotional needs of the children involved. 4. To conduct research on domestic violence. 5. To educate and inform the public on violence against women. 6. To lobby for legal reform and policies for protection of women and children.
Malaysia's first refuge was opened in September 1982, with WAO offering three main services to battered women and their children: shelter, telephone counseling and face-to-face counseling. In 1985, WAO was a pioneer member of the Joint Action Group Against Violence Against Women that initiated lobbying for the legislation of the Domestic Violence Act. WAO continued to work with JAG to coordinate advocacy and public education work until the act's implementation in 1996. Monitoring the implementation of the Domestic Violence Act is a core program of WAO.
Over the years, WAO has developed support services for women, among which is the Anak Angkat (Child Sponsorship) Programme, launched in 1985 to address the educational needs of the women's children. Since then, many children's education has been sponsored by individuals and companies to meet their expenses. In 1991, WAO opened a Child Care Centre, the first of its kind in Malaysia. The Centre provides care for the children of ex-residents who have decided to live independently. It meets an urgent need expressed by many women who have had great difficulty in finding a full-time job and reliable, affordable child care.
In 1993, WAO worked with the Hospital Kuala Lumpur to devise an accident and emergency department protocol for domestic violence patients called the One Stop Crisis Centre. This protocol has become standard in most government hospitals.
Since 1988, WAO began receiving isolated cases of foreign domestic worker abuse. At least one foreign domestic worker a year has sought refuge at WAO. In 1995, WAO began documenting the domestic workers’ experiences in detail. WAO developed a series of protocols to handle domestic worker abuse cases, which includes holding press conferences to expose the details of the cases and to place pressure on the employers and the police to respond to the cases. WAO also assists the domestic workers in obtaining lawyers and initiating civil and criminal suits. WAO also arranges for lawyers to watch briefs of the proceedings for foreign domestic worker abuse cases.
WAO conducted the first national research on domestic violence in 1990, and published the findings in 1995. Over the years, the organization has organized innovative public education programs on violence against women on radio, television and in the newspapers. WAO takes a leading role in advocacy work, public education, and legal reform on domestic violence. WAO continues to play an important role in the women's movement in Malaysia.
WAO gives shelter to an average of 100 women and 145 children annually. During their stay, women can receive counseling, legal advice, housing, and assistance in job placements. An average of 50 women seek face-to-face counseling each year. Professional social workers offer counseling sessions to women who may not necessarily seek shelter, but still want counseling. WAO receives an average of 1500 counseling calls per year. Telephone counseling is available to assist with women's problems, crisis situations and basic legal questions. The Child Sponsorship Programme, coordinated for the children of ex-residents, provides monthly donations to meet the school expenses of each child. WAO operates a temporary child care service for the children of ex-residents. WAO also publishes self-help booklets, manuals and handbooks on health and counseling issues, provides public education and advocacy programs, and monitors the Domestic Violence Act (Malaysia, 1994).
WAO has two centers: the WAO Refuge and the WAO Child Care Centre. The staff is comprised of 17 women, including social workers, child care workers, law reform officers, a communication officer and administrative personnel. In addition, WAO has 70 members and approximately 15 active volunteers. Interns will provide direct services to battered women and children in residence at the refuge. Interns will also participate in program development and research on relevant issues.
# of Positions per term
2-4 per year
January, April, June or September
Duration of Internship
Women's studies, international studies, gender and development studies, law, public health or related majors.
Applicants must have experience in domestic violence services or community education. Internship requires excellent research and writing skills, computer skills and the ability to work within a culturally diverse setting.
English. Proficiency in Malay, Mandarin or Tamil helpful, but not required.
An open-mind and an interest in working with women and children.
Total costs vary depending on how long you plan to be abroad, where you will be living, your personal spending habits, and current exchange rates. The following estimates will give you a ballpark figure for this internship. Get help with the math from our handy Cost Calculator.
ALL ESTIMATES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE.
IE3 Program Fee
The IE3 program fee is $3450 for the first term for both in-state and out-of-state students and $1000 for each additional term, regardless of credit earned. You do not pay tuition for the term(s) you are abroad. Visit your University's IE3 page for details, costs for additional terms, and campus administrative fees.
Estimated One-Time Expenses
|International Travel||Approximately $1200|
*See Additional Cost Information below.
Estimated Monthly Expenses
Read some previous interns' final reports:
Field Notes Postings:
Learning to be American, at home and abroad By Maddy Gribbon, University of Oregon and IE3 Alum (May 25, 2011)
Surviving re-entry: Reflections from an IE3 Alum Interviewee Maddy Gribbon: University of Oregon and IE3 Alum (July 5, 2010)