In 1979, the late Tun Tan Siew Sin was awarded the Tun Razak Award for his invaluable contribution to the country. He generously donated his cash award of RM 30,000 to establish a shelter for battered women and their children.
A Protem committee, headed by Puan Sri E.N. Chong, had its first meeting in November 1981. It took 9 months to lay the groundwork and to form a core group of volunteers. These pioneer volunteers worked as a collective to formulate the operating principles of self help and self empowerment for battered women who turned to WAO for help.
In June 1982, WAO received temporary registration as a society and a single storey house was rented as WAO's refuge and office premises.
The Malay Mail published the first article about the planned Refuge. On a Saturday morning in September 1982, a call came in: "She has left her husband with her two children, could she stay for a while?" This woman and her two children were WAO's first residents.
WAO Vision and Mission
To create a society that is free of violence against women
To promote and create respect, protection and fulfillment of equal rights for women. To work towards the elimination of discrimination against women, and to bring about equality between women and men.
The fundamental belief of Women's Aid Organisation (WAO) is that no one deserves to be battered. We believe that all human beings have the right to self determination and should have control over the conditions that shape their lives.
To provide on request to women and their children suffering from mental, physical and sexual abuse, temporary refuge services that empower and enable them to determine their own future.
To offer emotional and social support to any women who request for it, resident or otherwise, and offer support and after-care.
To undertake and encourage research into any of the factors that contribute to the inequality and subordination of women.
To undertake and advocate with government and non-government organisations the eradication of factors that contribute to the inequality and subordination of women through law, policy and institutional reforms.
To create an awareness and better understanding among individuals, public and relevant agencies on the issues of violence against women and the underlying inequalities.