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Shelter for women in crisis

Communities whom we work with: The very heart of our work

Shelters for Women and Child Survivors of Human Trafficking or in Crisis

Established in May 2006 to provide care, protection and safe repatriation to trafficked survivors


To provide care, protection and safe repatriation to women and children who are survivors of human trafficking or who are in critical distress.

The History

Since its inception till 31 March 2011, the Shelter has housed 352 trafficked survivors from Malaysia and 9 other countries, namely, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, China, Sri Lanka, Burma and India. Two of these survivors were part of the 19 Malaysian girls rescued from a brothel in London and Birmingham in 2006.

Tenaganita had to close the Shelter from March 2011 as there were no further funding to sustain the shelter; as such the survivors were sent to the different shelters until May 2012.

In June 2012, Tenaganita managed to secure some funding from local faith based organization to open the shelter once again. With the increasing number of cases of domestic workers and women migrant workers in Penang, Tenaganita set up another shelter in February 2015. Cases are handled by 3 volunteers in Penang together with Women Crisis Centre and Penang Office for Human Development. From the period of February 2014 to April 2015, , Tenaganita has housed 133 women, 5 children and 3 infants.

Tenaganita’s Shelters offer safe spaces where survivors’ current needs are fulfilled while their rights are being redressed until their safe repatriation.

  • Tenaganita’s shelters protect and assist trafficked persons by providing:-
  1. – Temporary accommodation in a secure, warm and trusted environment
  2. – Food, clothes and hygiene products
  3. – Access to health care
  4. – Access to psychological and counselling care
  5. – Legal support and intervention
  6. – Recovery and empowerment
  7. – Informal training and information sharing regarding human and labour rights and the indicators that can lead to human trafficking
  8. – Skills training and enrichment activities
  • To act as a mediator between authorities (i.e. police, immigration, legal service, medical personnel) and the trafficked person.
  • To do documentation for the purposes of doing advocacy and legal intervention.
  • To provide information to enable education, awareness raising and campaign to stop the crime of trafficking in persons.

Our Shelters

1) Selangor Shelter

Since its inception in 2006 until 31st March 2011, the Selangor shelter, sheltered more than 352 trafficked survivors from Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, China, Sri Lanka, Burma and India. Tenaganita had to close the Shelter in March 2011 as there were no further funds to sustain the shelter.

In June 2012, Tenaganita managed to secure some funding from local faith based organizations which enabled the shelter to reopen.

Since June 2012, until the end of 2018 it had sheltered a further 312 women and children.

2) Penang Shelter

On November 1st 2014 with funds primarily from private donations, Tenaganita opened a shelter in Penang. By the end of 2018 it had sheltered 148 women and children of different nationalities.

In July 2017, the Shelter was recognised by Malaysia’s Home Ministry as a Shelter for trafficked survivors. As part of the service to the Home Ministry an office was opened in Penang. This office is used for meetings between Police/Immigration/Welfare Department officials and survivors, activities for the survivors, a weekly Legal Aid Clinic and general administrative work.

Shelter Activities

The shelters rely on the staff and dedicated volunteers to provide skills training and enrichment activities. These activities add diversity and allow for unique forms of expression in a community of individuals with varying nationalities and ethnic backgrounds. Additionally, the activities are designed to develop skills that can be utilized in the future outside the shelter, such as foreign language proficiency and entrepreneurial skills.

Activities provided at the shelters include:-

• Cooking and baking

• Handicrafts

• Art classes

• Crochet classes

• Sewing

• Dance classes

• Exercise classes

• Yoga classes

• English classes

• Flower and vegetable gardening

• Candle making

• Basket weaving

Rainer's House of Hope

Rainer’s House of Hope by Tenaganita (RHH) is a specific half-way house (shelter) specifically dedicated for GBV survivors. 

Initiation of RHH is a close working relationship between Tenaganita and refugee women communities and support group that feel the need of accessible safe house for refugee women GBV survivors. With kind support of Rainer Rotthoff who provide the house for that purpose Tenaganita launched RHH on 21 March 2021. 

RHH is still a work in progress, expected to enable GBV survivors to recover from traumatic experience and empower themselves and able to build independent living by providing temporary safe place (up to 3 months); psychosocial support and educational activities to facilitate recovery and empowerment; and building bridge toward independent living of the GBV survivors. 

Programmes Designed for Change

As we listen to the silenced voices of our communities, we began to identify the gaps which exist. We have different specific and dedicated programmes which are built from and developed through the needs of the communities we work with.