Mission & Vision


Promote and protect the right to health of marginalized communities.

HEI believes that universal access to affordable, high quality health care is a fundamental human right and recognizes that community participation and empowerment are instrumental to the realization of these rights.


A socially just world in which every human being is entitled to enjoy the highest attainable standard of health conducive to living a life in dignity.

Long-Term Objectives

To establish and reorient laws, policies and programs to recognize and advance the right to health of marginalized communities so they are better able to achieve equity and justice in health.

To improve the physical and mental health of marginalized communities thus enabling them to live with increased dignity and well-being.

To strengthen marginalized communities to enable them to become more effective in promoting their right to health through interventions, advocacy and policy making at the community, national and international levels thus enabling them to gain increased agency over their health and lives.




    Core Values

    Human Rights and Democracy
    To uphold and advocate for the human rights of all and the principles of democracy upon which a just society rests.
    Integrity and Honesty
    To ensure a foundation of integrity and honesty guides all endeavors.
    To operate transparently and be accountable for all actions, outputs and decisions.

    To advance and operate on the principle that every individual is entitled to full and equal access to all civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights.

    Mutual Respect

    All relationships shall be guided by a dynamic of mutual respect, which recognizes the opinions, beliefs, values, experiences, and status of others

    To work within a participatory framework that values the community as an equal partner and be guided by a spirit of teamwork to accomplish all tasks.
    Gender Equality

    To advocate for women’s equal access to and participation in all aspects of society, including economic, political, legal, education, and health systems, and freedom from all forms of discrimination, violence, abuse, and exploitation.

    To be guided by a genuine concern for and sensitivity to the difficulties of others, which encompasses the motivation to alleviate the circumstances that give rise to such challenges.

    About HEI

    Since 2007, HEI has provided community-based mental health programs for refugees and asylum seekers, which include prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation.

    Look at how we’ve grown over the years.

    Our Team

    Board of directors

    Dr. Sharuna Verghis PhD

    The co-founder and Director of HEI. She is a public health researcher, educator, practitioner, and advocate. Dr. Verghis has worked extensively on the issue of migration and health for more than 20 years, at community and regional/international levels. She was the first Coordinator of Coordination of Action Research on AIDS and Mobility (CARAM Asia) and set up its regional secretariat in Kuala Lumpur. Dr. Verghis has served on national, regional, and international research and intervention projects related to migration and health. Her doctoral thesis used an interdisciplinary approach uniting international human rights law with public health to examine the access of urban refugee women to maternal health care. She is a Senior Lecturer at the Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Monash University, Malaysia.

    Dr. Xavier Vincent Pereira

    A Consultant Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist, and Adjunct Professor at Taylor’s University’s School of Medicine. He consults at two private hospitals and the Sg. Buloh General Hospital. He has more than 20 years of experience in various forms of community work. He is also the founder Chair of the Catholic Counselors and Therapists Malaysia. He serves as a Director, Mental Health Services Director and pro bono psychiatrist at HEI. Dr. Pereira is an alumni of St. John’s Medical College, Bangalore, India. He did his Masters in Psychological Medicine at University Malaya and has a certification in IPT by the International Society of IPT. He gained further certification as a supervisor and trainer in IPT under the IPT Institute, USA.


    A lawyer by training and has vast experience in working with disenfranchised communities. She has worked with interest groups focusing on people with disabilities, child abuse, trafficking, HIV and AIDS, refugees, and disaster response, in a number of countries including Malaysia, Thailand, India, Uzbekistan, and Cambodia. In the midst of diversity of interests, her focus has always been the delivery of services to and the empowerment of persons in great need, especially children. Her personal mission is to facilitate the delivery of these services to the standard of good governance, transparency and accountability.

    MS. AshLEY KOH

    Steering Committee Members

    Dr. Alice Nah PhD

    A Research and Teaching Fellow at the Center for Applied Human Rights at the University of York. She is actively involved in transnational civil society networks – she is the Vice President of the International Detention Coalition and a member of the Steering Committee of the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (serving as its previous Chair). In recognition of her achievements in migrant and refugee rights advocacy, the US State Department in its 2009 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report named her as one of its nine heroes. She conducts research on state power and non-citizens in Malaysia as well as security management practices of human rights defenders at risk around the world.


    A lecturer in international human rights law at the Center for Applied Human Rights at the University of York. Mr. Jones has been a member of the executive committee of the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration and chaired its 11th biennial conference in Cairo. Mr. Jones is a member of the steering committee of the Southern Refugee Legal Aid Network and a consultant to refugee legal aid organizations in Cyprus, Egypt, Hong Kong, Jordan, Malaysia and Turkey; he has provided advice on refugee policy to UNHCR and the governments of Canada, Hong Kong, Indonesia, and Taiwan. In 2008, he co-founded the Egyptian Foundation for Refugee Rights which is now the largest provider of legal aid to refugees and migrants in domestic courts in Egypt. He was the first chair of the Legal Aid Working Group of the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network, a regional coalition of over 100 NGOs, and is an advisor to its steering committee. His research interests include the reform of the governance of the international refugee protection regime, the interaction between international and national refugee law, and refugee law in Asia.

    Our Partners

    We work in close collaboration with refugee community organizations in Malaysia. A spirit of partnership informs HEI’s work, as community members are involved from project design through to implementation, and are regularly asked to give feedback.

    Our partners include:

    • Alliance of Chin Refugees (ACR)
    • Afghan Community Centre (ACC)
    • Ahmadiyya Refugee Community (ARC)
    • Arakan Refugee Relief Committee (ARRC)
    • Burmese Refugee Organization (BRO)
    • Chin Catholic Refugee Community (CCRC)
    • Chin Refugee Committee (CRC)
    • HUMA Cultural and Educational Centre (HUMA)
    • Kachin Refugee Committee (KRC)
    • Kachin Youth Refugee Committee (KRC Youth)
    • Lisu Refugee Committee (LRC)
    • Myanmar Christian Fellowship (MCF)
    • Malaysia Karen Organization (MKO)
    • Mon Refugee Organization (MRO)
    • Myanmar Ethnic Women Refugee Organization (MEWRO)
    • Myanmar Muslim Refugee Community (MMRC)
    • Multinational Women’s Organization of Burma (MNWOB)
    • National League for Democracy  (NLD)
    • Organization for Karenni Development (OKD)
    • Rohingya Society of Malaysia (RSM)
    • Rohingya Women Development Network (RWDN)
    • Shan Refugee Organization (SRO)
    • Siyin Organization of Malaysia (SOM)
    • Sri Lankan Tamil Refugees Organization of Malaysia (STROM)
    • Sri Lanka Refugees Migration Community Service (SRMCS)
    • TANMA Federation (TANMA)
    • Yemeni Refugee Women Organization (YRWO)
    • Zomi Association of Malaysia (ZAM)