By Tan Mei Kuan

The peace-filled community project to end all forms of violence, “One Million Stars to End Violence” met its target in October after two years. To celebrate the completion of the advocacy project, the Gallery of Stars was officially launched on Wednesday, November 13, along Jalan Market above The PWW Shop.

A joint project of Perak Women for Women Society (PWW) and Soroptimist International (SI Ipoh), each woven star made of recyclable materials is a commitment to resist violence and hatred as well as a symbol of light, peace and solidarity. The creative installations in the gallery were done in close collaboration with the architectural faculty from UiTM Seri Iskandar consisting of more than 30 undergraduates.

“This project which was started on November 25, 2017, was our way of sending a message to everyone irrespective of age, race and religion that violence of any form should not be tolerated. Stars were made to convey the message. It was made possible with people from all walks of life, from Malaysia and all over the globe. Our members also conducted talks on this project at various schools during our two-year period. The young students and youths will now be our ambassadors of peace,” explained Sumathi Sivamany, President of PWW.

Present were Kavaramma Subramaniyam, Director of Perak Women Development Department, Cindy Chong Evans, Olympia College Principal, Associate Professor Dr Norhayati Baharun, UiTM Perak Deputy Rector (Academic), Nor Syamimi Samsudin, High Achievers Club Advisor of UiTM Perak Architectural Faculty and Michelle Ayon Navajas, the author of the book, “After-Rain Skies: A Million Stars”.

The gallery features three installations erected in three phases since June: Melancholy, Sayap (Wing) and Lady Liberty.

It was followed by the launch of the book titled, “After-Rain Skies: A Million Stars”, a collection of stories about abused women. The proceeds from the sales will go towards helping downtrodden women.

Michelle, a Filipino writer, blogger, educator and loving mother of four, shared with Ipoh Echo about her first published book, “The main takeaway for readers is that abuse and violence of any form should never be tolerated and cannot be accepted. Readers have been touched by the stories in this book. We realise that abuse and violence are actually universal. It can happen to you, me and even the most successful, seemingly happy women.”

It is available in The PWW Shop in limited copies at RM20 per book starting September. She is currently based in Ipoh.

When asked on the meaning behind the book title, the amiable Michelle added, “When there is so much rain, the sky is so dark. After the rain, we see the stars in the clear sky. That is basically also what will happen to all the victims after the sufferings and trouble as well after you get help.”

The Gallery of Stars is open from 10am till 1pm on Monday and Tuesday and 10am till 4pm from Wednesday to Sunday.

For more updates, visit the Facebook page: One Million Stars to End Violence - Malaysia.