Beyond providing safe accommodation for women and children who are survivors of domestic violence, Star Shelter is also a place where stories are shared and friendships are forged. In the shelter, one finds herself no longer alone, but journeying arm-in-arm with many other women.
How evident was all this during the Star Shelter Hari Raya celebration in July this year. Alongside many other festivities throughout the year, this joyous occasion is celebrated yearly by the shelter – and brings together residents, both past and present for an evening of celebration, fellowship and food.
The celebration started off with a bang, residents and ex-residents were treated to a delectable Hari Raya feast. One of the highlights of the evening was a series of superbly choreographed modern and traditional Malay dance performances put up by the children and youth. A 16 year old ex-resident who has been volunteering as a dance instructor at the shelter for the past 9 months, choreographed 3 beautiful dance items performed by her and other shelter youths. There were jubilant shouts of encore after each dance item. Everyone enjoyed the lively performances that kept the audience clapping and on their feet throughout.
Other highlights were the group singalongs sessions, traditional Malay mass dancing and everyone, including staff, had a lot of fun and interaction playing a get-to-know-you-better ‘human bingo’ game.
What a befitting end to the fasting month it was; with the joyous reunion of past and present residents, regardless of race or religion – each with arms wide opened to embrace each other. As a Malay adage goes: Berat sama dipikul, ringan sama dijinjing*.
Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri to all.
*Regardless of the weight of our burdens, let’s bear them together.