FROM adversity comes opportunity. This has been true for 20-year-old Choy Yuin Quan, who decided to use the time she spent staying at home to find ways to help women and children.
While everyone else was picking up a new skill or returning to a forgotten hobby during the implementation of the recent movement control order (MCO), Choy made the best of her time by drawing artistic postcards to instil awareness and raise funds for domestic violence victims.
“The MCO gave me the time and space to explore my creativity, create more meaningful pieces and transform my passion into a business, as well as make a charitable effort,” said Choy, a Business Management and IT student at University College of London, who returned to Malaysia just days before the implementation of the MCO in March.
Choy started her #KadsForKawans movement, making and selling postcards for RM5 per piece on her Instagram page @quan.creates, with RM2.50 donated to charity.
“A total of 50% of all proceeds go to the Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO). This helps them provide free shelter, mental health support, education and guidance within the legal system for domestically-abused women and their children.
“The charity doesn’t just support them financially and emotionally, but also provides vocational training to help survivors obtain a sustainable livelihood in the long run,” she explained.
Inspired by love
“I have always wanted to sell my artwork for charity but what inspired #KadsForKawans was the MCO; specifically, the kindness that circulated between my family and friends throughout, filling each others’ homes with many treats from afar.
“(As we were) not able to visit one another, our family was constantly reminded of the support system that we were blessed with. Then, I realised that postcards were a perfectly thoughtful yet affordable option to remind all your friends of your love for them, without burning a hole in your wallet!”
Creating the postcards brought back memories of her boarding school days for Choy, who used to mail postcards to her friends during the Christmas season.
“I wanted to revive those moments of excitement,” she said.
“I wanted to utilise my time being housebound productively, and support those in dire need during these difficult times. It really struck me that whilst we may complain about having to stay at home to stay safe, there are some who aren’t safe even while at home.”
A cause to highlight
She chose to support a cause that would be able to create an impact in the long-term.
“Many Covid-19 food banks and emergency funds have received a lot of publicity, so I wanted to highlight less-acknowledged, yet equally important issues magnified by the pandemic.”
“I was shocked to discover the statistics on domestic abuse in Malaysia, and that calls for help to the WAO doubled within just the first month of the MCO.
“The WAO’s work to aid these women and children with legalities, sheltering, education and mental health was deeply inspiring, and I saw this as a great opportunity to raise an issue so scarily prevalent, yet hardly discussed in Malaysia,” added Choy.
Domestic Violence in Malaysia
“(According to a survey) one in 10 Malaysian women are reported to be victims of domestic abuse, and calls for help doubled just within the first month of the lockdown,” she said.
“It is not just ‘husband hitting a wife’. It’s repetitive physical, psychological, sexual, or financial abuse that causes more severe injuries and psychological trauma than most of us can imagine.
“Domestic abuse doesn’t just affect victims but also their children, our future generation. I have witnessed how volatile families impact the shaping of children and adolescents, and I am motivated to support the WAO and mitigate such issues.
“Aside from fundraising, advocating for WAO has stirred more conversations about domestic violence on social media. I was touched to hear acquaintances and friends being inspired to start their own fundraisers for the WAO and other charities.”