Dato' Dr Hartini Zainudin

Co-founder, Yayasan Chow Kit


Hartini Zainudin is a prominent activist who has dedicated nearly three decades to the welfare of marginalised children, and set up the Yayasan Chow Kit child-crisis centre

Hartini Zainuddin by Allan Casal
Johnnie Walker Blue Label

Dato' Dr Hartini Zainudin is an activist who co-founded Yayasan Chow Kit (formerly known as NurSalam), the first 24-hour/7-day one-stop child-crisis centre in the country. It is dedicated to providing marginalised and displaced children—including the abused, neglected, trafficked and abandoned—with basic needs, counselling and protection. Besides advocacy work, fund-raising and outreach programmes, she has also been involved in law and policy reforms, as well as training on children’s issues as part of the Voice of the Children NGO, of which she was vice-president.

Prior to establishing Yayasan Chow Kit, Hartini—who holds a PhD from Columbia University, New York—had extensive experience working on children’s educational issues in America. After returning to Malaysia, she was hired as an adviser and consultant for local NGO Yayasan Salam Malaysia to revamp the organisation.

Seeing a dire need to help and protect the children in and around Chow Kit, Kuala Lumpur, who were vulnerable and marginalised, Hartini eventually co-founded a children’s programme, NurSalam, under the organisation. Later—partnering with the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development, the Wilayah Social Department, corporates and NGOs—she and her co-founders established a centre for the children, re-named Yayasan Chow Kit.

Since then, Hartini has been actively involved in the welfare, protection and rights of children, taking up causes such as banning child marriages. She has served as a consultant to the UN and has been a member of a number of task forces, including Child Protection Policy Training and the Malaysian Adoption System.

She is currently a consultant for Malaysian Red Crescent and an active fund-raiser, who has been busy during the pandemic attending to the basic needs of refugees and migrant children as well as their family members.


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Did You Know?

Hartini is a single mother of several adopted children.

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