Women’s Advisory Committee gets to know community services for women in need

Friday, October 17, 2008
Issue 499, Page 2
Word count: 508
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

To have a better understanding of the local community services for women, a delegation of the Women’s Advisory Committee visited the Good Shepherd Sisters and its Women’s Mutual Help Centre yesterday afternoon.

The Committee arrived at the religious organisation and was briefed by Sr Juliana Devoy on the services provided by the organisation, and also interacted with the front line staff and shared their views on the challenges and problems related to their work.

The visiting group then went to the Women’s Mutual Help Centre which is responsible for external relations.
The staff introduced to the committee members operations of the centre, enabling the delegates to have a better idea of the service nature it provided and the women’s community services available in Macau.

The visit concluded with an exchange of souvenirs and a group photo session.

Secretary for Public Administration and Justice, Florinda Chan, who is a member of the Women’s Advisory Committee, yesterday recognised highly, the long term commitment of Good Shepherd Sisters in providing assistance to women in need.

She said that the joint efforts of the SAR government and the local community were “critical for protecting women’s rights”, adding “in a harmonious society people should also help each other and by doing that many things can then be solved.”

With the establishment of the Women’s Advisory Committee, women-related policies, rights, legal matters, education and relevant publicity and promotion work could also be followed, the Secretary said.

“Women should never give up but learn how to face life’s difficulties” she said, adding “although some may not know how to handle life crises on their own, they should remember that they’re not alone but there are many heartfelt people in the community who want to help and offer support.”

Secretary Chan pointed out that women in Macau were under the protection of the Basic Law and other types of regulations.

In addition, international covenants protecting women are also applicable in Macau.

However, there were still cases of women suffering from unfair treatment or violent threats, which the advisory board said should be condemned under “moral principles or subject to punishment under the laws”.

Secretary Chan said that as the Human Trafficking Law had come into effect, the administrative authorities would “by all means protect and provide assistance to victims of crimes”.

At the same time, the Women’s Advisory Committee has also established a special unit to conduct relevant studies, organise seminars on legal matters, and pay visits to the Public Security Police and the Human Trafficking Deterrent Measures Concern Committee to exchange views on women’s rights and domestic violence.

The Good Shepherd Sisters is a non-profit Catholic organisation under the Roman Catholic Diocese of Macau, providing community services mainly to women and children from single-parent families and those with special needs.

The aim of its establishment is to assist women in regaining self-respect and self-confidence through counselling services and a variety of activities, which facilitate the building of community support networks, development of individual potential, expansion of spiritual living space and also improvement of family relationships.

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