By KARMEN LEE
CHILDREN’S voices are often unheard or forgotten. Therefore, the young students of Yayasan Chow Kit (YCK) Homeschool programme decided to organise a theatre performance to speak up about an issue that they care deeply about – child abuse.
Through their experimental theatre performance titled 7 Voices, they hope to highlight the various forms of child abuse including physical and emotional abuse by family and friends.
“We heard many stories about abuse that some of our YCK children went through, so we chose to highlight this issue through this performance,” said YCK teacher and 7 Voices supervisor Mathavi Nadarajah.
There will be seven mini-stories inspired by real-life experiences of past and current YCK students, and they will be told from the perspectives of the children themselves.
Each story features YCK resident as the main character, but the entire show involves a production crew of about 13 other children aged between nine and 18.
Co-producer and performer Muhammad Hafiz Ardian Syah, 17, wants the public to start paying attention to child abuse.
“Through this show, we want to increase awareness of child abuse. We don’t talk about the solutions, but we want people to think about how they can prevent it,” he said.
He plays a teen who was sexually abused by a family friend and neglected by his family. Coincidentally, the story was inspired by the experience of his own friend.
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“At first, it was difficult for me to do the story because I was worried I wouldn’t be able to portray what he went through,” he said.
“But based on my conversations with him, I tried to put myself in his shoes. I hope to convey his emotions of sadness and loneliness into the character,” he added.
Muhammad Hafiz was also featured in The Star R.AGE’s mini-documentary series Children of Chow Kit, explaining his favourite places in Chow Kit, where YCK is based.
“It is best that the message behind the show is delivered by the children because they can relate to the stories. Sometimes, what they feel is not the same as seen in the eyes of adults,” said Mathavi.
“We hope it will be an eye-opener for parents.
7 Voices starts May 20 at Makespace, Quill City Mall, Kuala Lumpur with two sessions at 10.30am and 2.30pm respectively, and 10.30am on May 21. Entry is by donation of a minimum of RM20.
There will also be a showcase of canvas paintings by the children featuring messages of child abuse.
For details, call 017-479 1784 or 011-2317 0759, or go to www.yck.org.my/7voices.