Three years ago, we started the shelter project for refugee women and children at risk in partnership with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). When this invitation was extended to our organisation, we saw it as an opportunity to grow in our capacity to better serve the refugee community in Klang Valley. With this shelter project, we seek to provide protection, rehabilitation, and self-development opportunities to refugee single mothers, women, and boys and girls under the age of 18. These groups of people may experience various types of risks, such as: physical/ sexual abuse, gender-based violence, child marriage, release from detention, and homelessness. We have two shelter homes; one for women and girls, and another for boys.
In 2022, several improvements have been made to this project to greater support the refugees at risk living in the shelter. Firstly, due to the increasing demand, we expanded the physical space of the girls’ shelter by building additional cabins to receive more women and girls.
In terms of professional competency, we worked on strengthening inter-agency partnerships on shelter case referrals, as well as establishing clearer intake criteria and screening for the shelters. We partnered with other NGOs in Malaysia that provide different services for refugees and migrants, such as the Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO), SUKA Society, HOST International, UNHCR, Tzuchi Buddhist Free Clinic, and others. The range of services that these organisations provide includes: mental health support, case management for survivors of abuse, medical support and healthcare, and foster placements for unaccompanied children. In 2023, we hope to continue strengthening these partnerships, to fill in each other’s gaps, and ultimately, to provide better support and ecosystem for the refugee population in Malaysia.
Last but not least, we expanded the team by recruiting two new case managers with professional backgrounds in counselling and mental health to manage the cases at the girls’ and boys’ shelter respectively. This expansion is beneficial to the workflow, management of the operations, and case management under the shelter project.