Good Shepherd Services (GSS) kicked off its “16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence’ campaign with an Orange the World, Charity Run – Say NO to Violence against Women and Children. This international campaign is celebrated annually from November 25 (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) to December 10 (Human Rights Day). Its theme for this year is “Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands Against Rape”. This campaign is important as it highlights the importance of gender equality and the elimination of violence towards women and children, which is in line with GSS’ vision and mission.

The colour orange symbolises a bright and optimistic future free from violence against women and children.

Throughout this 16-day activism campaign, GSS conducted sessions that included public events to raise awareness, signature campaigns and other activities as part of their advocacy effort to raise awareness on the issue of gender-based violence.

On November 24 the nation-wide campaign launch for GSS started off in Ipoh with a 5km run from the Indian Recreational Club in Buntong close to where their newly established Community Service Centre is located. This first community event was aimed at raising awareness about the issue of violence experienced by women and children and promotes the need to protect and keep them from harm. The run with three categories drew the participation of about 150 runners and was officiated by Sivasubramaniam Athi Narayanan, Perak State Legislative Assembly Buntong area. Technical advice for the run was provided by officials from Kinta Athletic Association. The top three winners in each category received cash prizes. There was also a Fun run category for children. Lucky draw prizes included a Samsung handphone, children’s bicycles, electrical goods, and others.

“This year’s international theme for the campaign speaks about the need to break generational harmful practices, beliefs and traditions that perpetuate violence against women and children,” said Beatrice Lim, Manager of Good Shepherd Services Ipoh. “For this to happen, it calls for a response from all of us to act. We all have the capacity to do this and can easily start by having conversations about the issue of violence and not be silent about it” she added. “Being silent is being complicit.”

Good Shepherd Services has been working with the children and women at Bekor Flats and its surrounding communities in Buntong, Ipoh since 2017. They have also been engaging with three primary schools in the area namely SK Guru Kalgidhar, SJK (T) Methodist and SK Buntong to conduct programs and workshops relating to safety and protection.

The Community Service Centre (CSC) is a focal point and base for Good Shepherd Services to collaborate with the local community in relation to issues on the environment, education and gender-based violence. The CSC provides a safe place for children to spend their after-school hours where they will be involved in activities that enhance their creativity, knowledge, develop leadership skills and strengthen values. For the women, they conduct activities such as financial literacy, health and nutrition, addressing sexual and gender-based violence and other relevant activities that can empower and benefit them. Counselling services are provided at the centre.

For more information please visit their website www.goodshepherd.my.