Malaysian AIDS Foundation marks International Women’s Day with Charity Dinner to Empower Women Living with HIV
KUALA LUMPUR, 8 March 2019 – In conjunction with International Women’s Day and celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, the Malaysian AIDS Foundation (MAF) had organised a fundraising dinner with means to empower women living with HIV.
Appropriately titled Girlpower Gala Dinner, the evening affair was held at the newly renovated and refurbished Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur Hotel.
Guests of honour includes Deputy Minister of Women, Family and Community Development, Yang Berhormat Hannah Yeoh, Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur Managing Director, Frank Beck and Malaysian AIDS Foundation Chairman, Professor Dato’ Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman.
Branching out from its objective to raise funds for women and children living with HIV, the charity dinner also serves as a platform to highlight the plight of Malaysian women living with HIV which has escalated in recent years. By the end of 2018, there are more than 13,000 reported cases of HIV infection among women and girls in Malaysia.
This transcended into Malaysian AIDS Foundation’s MyLady Assistance Scheme, a special programme designed to improve the livelihood of women living with HIV by empowering them to be independent with a main goal to equip women and single mothers living with HIV with the knowledge and skill sets to start their own income-generating enterprise and also refer them for suitable jobs with peer support programme.
At the same ceremony, the Deputy Minister of Women, Family and Community Development took time to launch the Triple-A (Act Against AIDS) Challenge, a crowd funding campaign to also raise funds for women and children living with HIV. As an awareness to heightened the campaign, two long-distance marathon runners – Hezrina Hedzer, a 50-year-old homemaker and grandmother, and veteran marathoner Jeff Lau – will take part in Ultra ASIA Race, a four-day 160km foot race set in Vietnam on March 25-28.
MAF Chairman and Co-chair of the Gala Dinner, Professor Dato’ Dr. Adeeba Binti Kamarulzaman, is excited to see that MAF’s initiative to help empower women living with HIV finally takes off.
“On behalf of MAF, I am very thrilled to start 2019 with helping women living and affected by HIV. We successfully raised RM200,000 from this gala dinner and this will not only help women for the long run but at the same time enable us to nurture and support them to stand on their own. I would like to thank everyone who have help donated to this cause particularly to our signature sponsors, Bakhache Luxuries and Berjaya Corporation Berhad. Thank you to Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur Hotel for the support and being such gracious host to this meaningful event. We are beyond grateful for their contribution.” said Adeeba. “We at MAF will continue to help those in need. People living with HIV deserves a chance just as much as everyone. We welcome those who would like to be part of our journey to support and understand the plight of those living with HIV”.
Mr. Frank Beck, Managing Director of Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur Hotel, commented “Marriott International has a long-standing history of valuing diversity and inclusion and we are deeply honoured to be part of MAF’s journey in helping women living with HIV on this International Women’s Day. Community is deeply rooted into Sheraton’s history, we hope to inspire tonight’s guests and all Malaysians to help support those affected with HIV and AIDS.”
In a meaningful turn, the gala dinner also held a 30-minute discussion between four prominent ladies of various backgrounds. The session saw Ms Lee Jim Leng, CEO, Hong Leong Investment Bank Berhad; Datin Mina Cheah-Foong, Founder and Managing Director of The Body Shop; Matron Fadzilah Abdul Hamid, winner of MAF’s Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Award and Puan Jamaliah Sulaiman, operator of shelter homes for women living with HIV sharing the stage and their insights on the challenges and outcomes of Malaysian women living with HIV. The session was moderated by renowned journalist and TV host, Anne Edwards.
Guests of the evening were treated with door gifts sponsored by Body Shop and were entertained by performances from MAF’s Red Ribbon Celebrity Supporters (RRCS), jazz songstress Atilia Haron and singer Winnie K with local television host Owen Yap as emcee.
Those interested to donate to the The Triple-A Challenge can make their way to https://www.simplygiving.com/appeal/triple-a-challenge-2019. The crowd funding campaign will run until 30th June and seeks to raise RM100,000.