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Empowering Women the Way to Help

Organisations aiming to assist women need to adopt an empowering approach according to Sarawak Women for Women Society (SWWS).

This was the message given to the participants at their recent training course which introduced basic para- counselling skills to those women wanting to help others facing distress.

“Counselling is about helping people make their own decision after exploring together their situation, feelings and options” said Dr Angie Garet one of the trainers.

“It is not about telling people what to do,” she explained, adding, “It is why helpers need to develop self-awareness and good listening skills so they stop themselves imposing their opinions on others and instead enable them to make their own decisions.”

Through case studies, trainers Dr Ling How Kee and Gill Raja, demonstrated how wherever there is abuse there is a power difference in favour of the perpetrator.

“This inequality is why legislation and human rights conventions aim to empower as well as to protect women and girls who have been abused so this imbalance is addressed “, said Margaret Bedus, SWWS’s President. “But to be empowered women need to know their rights and so do the people helping them.”

Over 30 women attended the 3 day course held over two weekends. In addition to training members of SWWS to sustain their Crisis Phone Line other NGOs took up the offer to increase their awareness and to develop their para-counselling skills. They included IKRAM, Mental Health Association of Sarawak and WOC amongst others.

The training was closed by Jacob Ashley representing the Department of Women and Families (JWKS) who sponsored the event .

Women facing problems can ring SWWS’s Crisis Phone line. Those wishing to join or donate to SWWS can contact via the website/Facebook page or by emailing info@sarswws.org