Why Penang YWCA is Such a Landmark

loading Malayan YWCA Conference Penang at Tanjung Bungah in 1938.

Founded in 1909, this organisation has helped generations of despairing women and needy children.

The Penang Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) was formed during a time when girls suffered from fewer options, limited access to education and exploitation1 to tackle the problem across ethnic and religious lines. Although its role was later taken over by the Welfare Department and other women’s organisations, the YWCA still retains its legacy as one of the oldest women’s organisations in Penang, having served as an important platform for women for over a century.

Humble Roots and Pre-war Beginnings

The Penang YWCA owes its conception in 1909 to the generosity of Miss Fairburn, a British missionary who opened the doors of her home along Dato Keramat to young women in need.

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