10 Malaysian Women On The Importance Of International Women’s Day

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Dr Hartini Zainudin

Social activist and founder of Yayasan Chow Kit


… is doing the right thing even though people tell you it’s wrong. Courage is going with the routine despite the challenge, because you have responsibilities. Courage is doing whatever it takes, even if the policies aren’t in your favour. Courage is believing that the right thing is always to help someone. Courage is being a woman.


My 30-year journey of advocacy for abused chidren has had its fair amount of discrimination, from the lack of funding, the jadedness of society, the lack of trust, to losing children to a bad system—children who are put in detention because we don’t recognise refugees. At Yayasan Chow Kit, we are driven by the philosophy that every child matters. Through our programmes, children can realise their potential and lead a fulfiling life.


There are more people speaking up, and more advocates who are championing the rights of at-risk children. There are baby steps in policies that acknowledge children rights are being violated and infringed. We are slow in terms of actual policy changes, but I’m hopeful and patient. One day, stateless children will get their citizenship, all children will have equal rights and services to programmes offered by the government.


I teach children kindness and compassion as their most important values. We have an obligation as adults to protect all children, and we need to listen to them. They are our present and future. What they see, what they hear, and what they reflect on decide what’s going to shape them.

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