Finnish Embassy supports rights of the indigenous women in rural areas

Finnish Embassy in Malaysia has announced it will continue supporting Persatuan Wanita Desa Sarawak (WADESA) association next year. This is follow-up for a project Gender Equality through Human Rights Education for Rural Indigenous Women in Sarawak, East Malaysia which began in 2011, according to the Embassy website.


At WADESAs training women reflect common day problems and then spread the knowledge between each other. Photo: Rami Kolehmainen

WADESA is working with indigenous women and rural women in Sarawak, Borneo. Association assists women to recognize and understand human rights as women and as part of indigenous culture. Association is one of its kind in Malaysia.

Association pursue women to develop their own structures for empowerment and to be able to face repression, for instance economical inequality considering environmental issues. Aim is that women will get leadership position in their communities and by doing so it will spread equality.

”From 62 women participants only 6 can read and write. It is not easy task to train these issues. For instance there have been cases where villagers have put their thumb print to a contract and by doing so they have rent their villages surrounding for some company – for next 30 years. And villagers got from that contract around 300 ringits”, WADESA’s trainer and director Gloria Dom Nagok explains.

Besides of training indigenous and rural women WADESA also educate association members. Association also organizes conferences, workshops and activities.

Finnish Embassy went to familiarize its self at WADESAs activities in rural areas and to meet communities the training is aim at in the Borneo. Journey took place between 7th and 12th of December 2012.

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