Empowerment means control and opportunity over one’s life to participate in society fully and meaningfully. However, women living in poverty often lack the resources to lead empowered lives. In general, someone who is poorer has less access to quality education, jobs, resources and opportunities. Around the world, poverty disproportionately affects girls and women and helping them move out of poverty is an effective way to create brighter futures and transform families. Here are nine organisations committed to lifting and supporting women:
Ibupreneur is a social enterprise that functions as a platform for unemployed, stay-at-home mothers to generate sustainable income by selling baked goods. Kickstarted by spirited young girls named Aida, Wei Qi and Ming Chi, this team of three seeks to connect these mumpreneurs with the marketplace and therewith, allow them to achieve greater financial security.
Ibupreneur started off with just four aspiring mothers in 2019 and has now expanded to nine mums, each rolling out an array of scrumptious baked goods ranging from freshly baked cakes to indulgent pastries and cookies. With over 60 products sold, there’s always something for everyone – from traditional sweets like Urundai, Pineapple Tarts and Kuih Kapit to more adventurous flavours like the Oreo Brownies, Toffee-Dates Bundt and even Nutella Orange Kek Lapis.
Aida, Wei Qi and Ming Chi focus on business strategy and fundraising, whereas the mumpreneurs focus on the products, operations, and innovating new recipe ideas. Ibupreneur also steps in with digital marketing.
To ensure sustainable impact towards women empowerment, 60% of their sales go to the mothers whilst 40% goes to covering operational expenses. 100% of the profit generated is reinvested back to close the gender inequality gap in Malaysia.
Want to help Ibupreneur? You can support these mumpreneurs by buying their products. Browse through their menu here!
2. Women of Will
Women of Will (WOW) is an NGO that aims to transform the lives of economically vulnerable women in Malaysia through micro-credit financing and entrepreneurship programs. With these initiatives, they empower disadvantaged B40 women to achieve financial independence, which in turn allows them to take care of themselves and their families better.
In the past four years, WOW has helped over 1,000 women from various PPR areas such as Sri Kota, Taman Mulia, Batu Muda and Lembah Subang. They do this by equipping them with the entrepreneurial skills needed to develop sustainable business, such as marketing, communications, financial management and procurement planning. Program participants are also able to take part in networking opportunities and additional skills training.
Some of WOW’s projects include sewing Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) for front liners, making bags from recycled materials, baking goods in their Community Kitchen, and even organic farming in Sabah!
Want to help Women of Will? WOW offers various ways for you to take action. You can make donations, assist their fundraising efforts, become a volunteer, or even be part of their society! Click here for more details.
PurpleLily is a non-profit organisation dedicated to empowering women & girls by providing life skills training and financial education. Based in Kuching, their efforts cater primarily to disadvantaged women who, despite having skills and potentials, are significantly held back by low incomes. Through comprehensive workshops and training programmes, PurpleLily strives to equip these women with the right tools and support to become more empowered socially and economically.
Their Financial Literacy programme teaches women how to take control of their financial situations with a “step by step” approach, tackling crucial aspects such as tracking expenses, strategizing saving goals, discerning needs vs wants, and avoiding scams.
They also have a programme specifically designed for girls aged 14 to 18, which imparts essential life skills that are seldom taught properly in school. These interactive workshops provide practical methods for girls to develop confidence, practice presentation skills, inculcate positive thinking, and manage stress better. Girls are also given exposure towards sexual education and healthy mental health habits.
4. Bulan Sisters
Bulan Sisters is a youth-led campaign that aims to empower women by diminishing the effects of period poverty. By destigmatising menstruation and making sustainable period products more accessible to underprivileged communities, they seek to eradicate wrongful feelings of shame in young girls over a normal bodily process as well as promote better female reproductive health in Malaysian society.
On their Instagram page, not only do they raise awareness on menstrual health and hygiene, but they also address pertinent women’s issues such as period shaming, period poverty, and rape culture. They also use their platform to encourage reusable period products as an eco-friendly alternative to disposable ones.
Recently, Bulan Sisters partnered with Pink Flag, Enya Women and CosoSoap to provide menstrual hygiene kits to marginalised communities, helping over 100 families in Klang Valley. In tandem with #KitaJagaKita, Bulan Sisters hopes to extend a helping hand to young girls who are unable to access the menstrual products that they need amidst COVID-19.
Want to help Bulan Sisters? Follow them on Instagram to stay updated with their upcoming initiatives and fundraising campaigns!
5. Girls4Girls Malaysia (G4G Malaysia)
G4G Malaysia is one of the 24 chapters of Project Girls for Girls globally, an international NGO that empowers women to develop the courage, vision, & skills to take on public leadership. It was born in 2017 when Izzana Salleh, alongside her female colleagues from Harvard, recognized that something is holding women back from leading in the public sphere. Inspired by each other, they decided to play their part in closing the gap.
Their mission is to provide support and skills training relating to public speaking, negotiation skills, leadership etiquette and the art of communication to girls who show the potential and interest in taking up leadership roles. G4G’s mentorship circles are anchored in workplaces, schools, neighbourhoods, and other community spaces all across Malaysia. Their program participants meet regularly as a group with a mentor to talk about their goals, aspirations, and challenges.
G4G’s social media pages highlight important issues such as women’s mental health, standing up to rape culture, overcoming self-doubt and improving employability in times of COVID. Overall, the NGO offers a space for young female leaders to connect with one another, as well as to find the tools, training, and inspiration they need throughout their leadership journey.
6. Lean In Malaysia
Established in 2015 by Sarah Chen and Abir Abdul Rahim, Lean In Malaysia is a women empowerment platform that aims to address the two key issues: women dropping out of the workforce and the lack of women in senior management positions.
Their programs and discussions are aimed at empowering women to define success on their own terms, and therewith, return to the workforce with renewed confidence. In their Circle Dialogues, Lean In Malaysia educates participants on multitudes of issues and business-related matters. They also encourage participants to challenge stereotypes and preconceived notions through critical thinking.
Now with more than 5,000 members in their community, Lean In Malaysia conducts a series of engaging digital masterclasses and panel discussions, complemented by mentoring from senior industry leaders. Through their outreach programs, they seek to cultivate a platform for young women to develop their skill sets effectively and meaningfully.
7. Girl2Leader Malaysia
Girl2Leader is an initiative that aims to help young women harness their full potential in becoming future leaders. Spearheaded by its two founders Nurainie Haziqah and Farah Afzan, the organisation carries out programs that encourage women to recognize their right to speak up and bring change to the community through volunteerism.
Ever since their launch in 2018, Girl2Leader has conducted an array of efforts to empower women of all backgrounds. From giving grants for young girls to carry out their own community projects to organising #SpeakToLead events, this powerful NGO seeks to facilitate their members’ growth and confidence through various leadership and self-development opportunities.
Girl2Leader also uses their platforms to share tips across various important topics — cultivating empathic leadership, managing one’s emotional response to COVID-19, and recovering from setbacks are a few amongst many. By actively involving their members in all their sessions, Girl2Leader strives to unleash the leadership skills of young girls to the maximum.
8. Good Shepherd Services
Good Shepherd Services (GSS) is a non-profit organisation founded and operated by the Good Shepherd Sisters, which is a worldwide Congregation present in 73 countries. Its Malaysian chapter is headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, and they currently operate two Service Centres in Sabah and Ipoh.
Welcoming each person with respect and compassion, GSS reaches out to marginalised women and girls, especially those who went through sexual and gender-based violence. Their residential programs provide a safe haven for women and girls experiencing various crisis situations to heal and recover from traumatic experiences. By cultivating a safe space for women to express themselves, GSS hopes to restore and nurture them in their worth and dignity.
Today, the organisation has positively impacted over 1,485 women in Malaysia, and is expanding its efforts to further help women and families in rural areas and disadvantaged urban communities.
Want to help Good Shepherd Sisters? Volunteer to help GSS at a location of your choice here!
9. Women For Refugees
Women For Refugees (WFR) is a non-profit that seeks to empower and upskill refugee women from marginalized communities through literacy and capacity-building programs. Founded in 2020 by Arissa Jemaima and Davina Devajaran, WFR believes that education is not a luxury – but a right.
Alongside teaching refugees how to read and write in English and Bahasa Melayu, WFR also envisions to equip these women with employable skills and leadership training. Their most recent initiative is called ‘Karama’ — the Arabic term for ‘Dignity’. Through this program, they aspire to uphold the dignity of refugee women by empowering them with the skills needed to take on leadership roles and economic opportunities.
Through entrepreneurial skills and advocacy training, WFR wishes to see these women grow in confidence and henceforth, become active contributors in bringing positive changes to their communities.