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The Star Online > News
Tuesday, May 7, 2002

WAO website helps save distressed woman’s life


PETALING JAYA: A Malaysian website set up to counsel women in need has saved a life here, thanks to a tip-off all the way from Britain.

In March this year, the Women’s Aid Organisation ( received a call from a young man called Matthew (not his real name), who said he was calling from Britain because he was worried about his mother, who was home alone in Damansara, here, at that time.

Matthew said he had found out about WAO from an Internet search, and had looked up the number via its website. WAO was launched in November 2000 to serve as a resource centre for people looking for information on women-related issues including rape and abuse.

WAO executive director Ivy Josiah related the story:

“He said that he was afraid that his mother might have done something to hurt herself. She had sounded very distressed when she called him earlier that day to give him some ‘very shocking news’ she had received about her husband.’’

After getting more details from Matthew, WAO staff tried calling his mother but the line was consistently busy.

“We asked Telekom Malaysia for help but they informed us that they could not intercept the call, probably because the telephone was off the hook.

“That’s when we started getting worried as well,” said Josiah.

A WAO worker, who happened to live in the area, drove by the house to check on Matthew’s mother.

There, she found the house door slightly ajar.

When there was no response to her shouts, the volunteer went into the house, where she found Matthew’s mother lying on the floor upstairs in a very distressed state.

Upon discovering that Matthew’s mother had “taken something’’, she took her to the nearest clinic.

“As soon as my staff called us to let us know that his mother was going to be all right, I immediately called Matthew and told him,” said Josiah.

“Knowing that our website had helped save a life, was the best news we’ve had in a long time,” said Josiah.

“It was a team effort and we were all very glad to have been there to help Matthew and to be able to provide that emotional support and counselling that his mother needed at that moment,” she added.

For the full story, check out The Net: A life-saver … really

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