Dr Hartini Zainudin

Dr Hartini Zainuddin spent her youth teaching children in the boroughs of New York before settling down in her home country. Hartini’s return to Malaysia over three decades ago saw her embarking on a new journey of upholding children’s rights in Malaysia. Her involvement in Yayasan Nur Salam, now known as Yayasan Chow Kit, a 24-hour/7-day one-stop child crisis centre, Dr Hartini has been the go-to person when it comes to issues of marginalised children in Malaysia.

Her work has transversed borders. Hartini was South-East Asia’s focal person for the United Nations Relief Work Agency (UNRWA), involved in the plight of Palestinian refugees and worked for the Asia School of Business, as well as UNICEF, Malaysia.

A single mother of several adopted children, the plight of the children, especially stateless children, led her to helm the Voice of the Children, a local NGO performing advocacy work, law and policy reforms and training on children’s issues.

In Malaysia, her expansive work includes being a member of the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development’s National Advisory Council on the Welfare and Protection of Children. Hartini is also part of various national task forces, including Child Protection Policy Training, Stateless Children and the Malaysian Adoption System.

Dr Hartini currently sits as a council member of the National Recovery Council, looking into food security and child protection issues within marginalised communities in Malaysia.

For more info on Yayasan Chow Kit, click here.

I work on child rights issues. For me, impact is about making a difference to each and every child I come across- to the best of my abilities. Because I can only do better if I had more time, more resources, and less urgent circumstances in so many of the cases. I could have always done better! Upholding a child’s rights and dignity is part of social protection. We define social protection as a set of policies and programs designed to reduce poverty and vulnerability by diminishing a child’s exposure to risks and enhancing his/her capacity to protect themselves and be the best version they can possibly be under trying circumstances.

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