Rohani Hussainsa, aged 62 is founder of the Rumah Jagaan Nasyiatul Aisyiyah or “The House of Hope” and the Pertubuhan Nasyiatul Aisyiyah, which manages the” House of Hope”. This Muslim shelter was established 16 years ago to provide a home to babies and children abandoned by their mothers or parents, particularly babies born out of wedlock; orphans whose parent or parents have died in illness or accidents; unemployed and homeless single mother; women who have been physically and mentally abused and lastly, juveniles addicted to drugs or substance abuse. The house has two shelters in Balik Pulau to accommodate babies and children below 12 years and another from 13 to 15 years. There are currently 25 children, all girls while another “House of Hope” has been opened in Bangi, Selangor, to accommodate boys. The volunteers and care-givers are single-mothers who temporarily live in the shelter. The children go to national-type schools in the area. Over the last 16 years, the shelter has cared for more than 300 children while some have qualified for higher education and technical colleges.
Rohani, grew up with seven other siblings in the Air Itam Orphanage in Penang where her father Hussaina bin Man was a warden and mother Tengku Aishah bte Lebai Mat was a cook. Her father of Champa Malay origin was left at the ‘Rumah Melayu’ or ‘Malay House’ welfare home as a child at Jalan Shaik Madar, Air Itam. Rohani sought employment in National Semi-Conductor in 1980 and at Mostek in 1982 but was retrenched 3 years later along with 764 others. She led the first women’s protest movement against sudden dismissal and poor compensation. This first public protest by women workers led her to being called Rohani Mostek, up to this day. She joined MTUC and became a volunteer in the Young Workers Project inUniversiti Sains Malaysia from 1985 -1990. She co-founded Tenaganita with the late Irene Fernandez in 1993 and has since worked closely with the Women’s Centre for Change, the Pan Pacific Southeast Asia Women’s Association or PPSEAWA, The Malaysian Association for the Blind, the Buddhist Tzi Association, Lam Wah Ee Hospital and numerous other bodies which have offered services and help in cash or kind. Her patience, fortitude, caring spirit and kindnesses to the poor and miserable is humbling to say the least and the Majlis Dato’ Dato’ Negeri Pulau Pinang is extremely pleased to award her the Golden Service Award 2014 for outstanding public service to inter-ethnic communities on the grass- roots.
May she be blessed in her work and bring hope and happiness to many more children and women.