Many people are wondering about the progress of the Safety Net Project. Is it fully running? What are the steps the Foundation has taken to achieve its goals? Did we get any response at all? If so, how far?
As the Secretary of the Foundation, a huge part of my duty is networking. Yes, people! Networking. I have to say, these are one of the busiest times in my life – having to juggle my time and fulfill all my responsibilities, inside and outside the scope of Lingua Franca Foundation.
Since the birth of this foundation, I have been stretching my scope of contacts from the locals to worldwide. It is crucial to have such networks to enable the Foundation to function fully and get more support, thus enable it to grow even further.
Throughout my experience with this Foundation, I notice that the moment I mentioned about its existence and the goals we would love to achieve, many people are mostly intrigue and interested over the Safety Net Project. I, myself, am very enthusiastic contacting people to introduce this special project – because I have to say: the response I got for this project is surprisingly POSITIVE!
Frankly, I hesitated and was rather anxious when I approached the local municipality. After all, it was my first time. I have had my share of working in the past, but my working experience with the Foundation is somewhat different. Positive, yet in a different way. A simple ‘direct walk-in approach’ with the person behind the municipality desk was actually sufficient enough to trigger curiosity! I gritted my teeth and explained to her some of the functions of the Foundation and its missions and goals. To my surprise, she told me to make an appointment to discuss further with an internal colleague – especially about the Safety Net Project. Of course, I took the opportunity instantaneously.
From there, I started to get into full gear! I went a step further and gathered all my courage and made the first move in contacting a higher authority. The embassy!
The Malaysian embassy in the Netherlands is situated in Den Haag. Den Haag (The Hague) or officially known as ‘s-Gravenhage, is the administrative capital of the Netherlands which is located in the west of the country. It took me approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes to reach there by car.
I had a wonderful opportunity to speak directly to the Minister Counsellor of Malaysia about the Safety Net Project. While listening to me, I noticed that I stirred an enormous interest by the look of the Counsellor’s face. He nodded many times and to my surprise, the Counsellor indeed shared the same interest and concerns with Lingua Franca Foundation. I also mentioned how very disturbing to know that many foreigners (mainly women) are suffering each day due to domestic violence or seriously manipulated by their partners. The Counsellor reconfirmed by informing me that each year, plenty of Malaysians, mostly women, came directly to the embassy seeking for help and refuge because they could not see any way out anymore due to enormous relationship pressures and been seriously abused (mental and physical) by their European partners. The Counsellor also stressed his concern and frustration for the fact that the embassy themselves are unable to assist these vulnerable women because technically it is out of their jurisdiction. Since the situation occurred outside their homeland and these women are justifiable to the domestic law in the country they reside, the embassy could only give advice. Nothing more. Due to this very limited power, some lives were lost!
We could see that it is such a delicate matter and only a neutral ground such as a Foundation, is able to bring forward the importance of this matter and to highlight equal rights on both parties without projecting any prejudism nor interference, also without jeopardizing the relations between countries and to avoid conflict of interest from both sides.