Sime Darby extends financial backing for women’s group WAO until 2019

BY RAM ANAND

KUALA LUMPUR, March 23 ― Sime Darby Foundation (SDF) today extended another RM1.5 million to continue its support for Women's Aid Organisation (WAO) until 2019.

The aid will bring Sime Darby's total commitment 2010 to a total of RM4.3 million, for the group it has credited for raising awareness levels, lauding its advocacy work against domestic violence.

“With domestic violence in the past you do not even get much help from authorities, but now even the government is participating to curb this,” SDF governing council member Datin Zaitoon Othman said at its International Women’s Day 2017 celebration here.

In the six years between 2010 and 2016, a total of 949 women and 821 children have sought refuge at WAO's refuge centre for victims of abuse.

WAO executive director Sumitra Visvanathan said SDF's support has been ‘critical’ to help the organisation achieve its vision over the years. ― Picture by Saw Siow Feng

“They are making a sustainable change in the lives of the marginalised. That is why the Foundation is interested [to provide aid],” SDF chief executive Yatela Zainal Abidin said.

Meanwhile, WAO executive director Sumitra Visvanathan said SDF's support has been “critical” to help the organisation achieve its vision over the years.

“SDF has been supporting WAO, to help provide that safe space alternative to living in a violent home,” she said.

“Their support to us has extended to beyond these shelters,” she added.

She said that with SDF's backing, WAO was also able to offer support services such as counselling for victims.

“Our job is to turn these victims into survivors,” she said.