The PWW shop on Market Street is a place where you are likely to find something that catches your eye. — Picture by Farhan Najib
IPOH, Aug 26 — The next time you are in Ipoh, try dropping in at the Perak Women for Women Society (PWW) shop.
Located on Market Street, buying anything from the outlet will not only see you walk away with something nice, but you would have done your bit to help abused women.
The items on sale here are provided by domestic violence victims and include candles, Penan handwoven baskets and three-tier hand-painted enamel tiffin carriers.
It also stocks pre-loved items such as clothes.
Prices begin from as low as RM2.
PWW president Sumathi Sivamany said the items at the social enterprise are constantly updated.
“We do not charge women who put their items for sale at our place but normally they will offer to donate a sum to us, which we will use to help other women in need,” she said.
The idea to have the shop began early last year after it was found to be too taxing to maintain a shelter for abused women.
Among the services provided by PWW are defending the rights of women, promoting awareness on violence against women and respect for gender equality and counselling for women and children who are victims of violence.
They also want to promote change in society and the legal system to protect women and children besides empowering women to elevate themselves and be more independent.
Sumathi said the idea to have the shop was initially floated during the society’s council meeting.
They started looking for a suitable place after the idea was approved.
“It so happened that one of our volunteers knew the owner of the shop who at the time had put it up for rent.”
Sumathi said the society initially only rented the ground floor of the shop.
“But after seeing the work done by the society, the owner offered the first floor to us for free where we now have awareness projects and talks.”
Some of the items for sale at the PWW shop on Market Street. — Picture by Farhan Najib
Aside from selling handicraft made by abused women, Sumathi said the shop is also the society’s centre where abused women seek help.
“We have women coming from all over the state to see us to seek advice on what to do when they are abused by their husbands.”
“Besides providing legal advice, we also have a counsellor who will provide emotional assistance.”
One year into its operations, Sumathi said the shop has made an impact on single mothers and abused women.
It has also helped those in the lower income group.
“We also have women who approach us for financial assistance.
“For instance, a woman in Buntong, whose husband was a drug user, needed startup funds for her nasi lemak stall. We asked her to put in a proposal and we gave her RM700 to start her off.”
Loans from PWW are not legally binding but the society encourages people to pay back the loan, which would allow it to help other women.
‘One million stars’ project
PWW also embarked on a project to make a million stars from paper two years ago to raise awareness on violence.
PWW co-founder Yip Siew Keen and president Sumathi Sivamany at PWW Shop, Ipoh August 26, 2019. — Picture by Farhan Najib
Its co-founder Yip Siew Keen said the society worked with another non-governmental organisation Soroptimist International Ipoh for the project.
The idea, she added originated from Australia by artist and weaver Maryann Talia Pau.
Pau had started weaving stars as a personal response to a local tragedy.
Yip said the society has collected 850,000 stars to date.
“We are on target to have one million stars by November this year,” she said, adding that while most stars are contributed by locals, some of the stars also come from Australia, USA and the UK.
To celebrate the completion of the project, PWW will be having a Women’s March on November 24.
“It will be held simultaneously with Ipoh Car Free Day at Jalan Raja Di Hilir,” said Yip.
Some of the completed stars have been put up along the corridors of the PWW shop.
Yip said although the society was on mark to reach one million stars, it still encourages more contributions.
“Those interested to contribute but do not know how to make the stars, there is a Youtube channel that teaches how to make the stars.”
“Alternatively, come to the PWW shop where we will teach you.”
The PWW shop is open daily.
On Mondays and Tuesdays, its operating hours are from 10am to 1pm while from Wednesdays to Sundays, it is open from 10am to 4pm.
For further details, visit https://www.facebook.com/1MillionStars/ or call PWW (05-2469715).