The Star Shelter is a safe, temporary refuge for women and children who are victims of domestic violence. The charity helps those in need regardless of race, background, creed or religion. The aim of the organisation is to empower the victims who seek the shelter’s support to manage and take responsibility for their lives, and assist them in rebuilding a life free from violence. It is the only secular crisis centre in Singapore.
Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations (SCWO) is a collective voice for 57 women’s organisations in Singapore, representing close to one million women and children. As the National Co-ordinating Council of Women’s Organisations, SCWO delivers programmes in education, advocacy, and the promotion and protection of women’s interests and rights.
Funds raised at ICAP Charity Day 2012 in Singapore enabled Star Shelter to strengthen its Art Therapy programme for the women and children attending the shelter. ICAP’s donation funded the running costs, materials, training and equipment for the therapy programme – it also enabled the charity to renovate its art therapy room and engage a full time art therapist so that more residents can participate and benefit. The aim of the sessions is to increase self-esteem, self-confidence and independence which enables women and their children to cope better with the day-to-day challenges they face.
Since receiving support from ICAP the charity has seen more women and children benefit from attending the sessions. The women who attend the weekly therapy sessions are demonstrating a calmer nature and are better equipped to cope with stress and managing their emotions. Children attending weekly art therapy sessions are able to express themselves better and are showing clear improvements in their overall behaviour. Art Therapy allows children to funnel emotions stemming from a traumatic past which they cannot easily communicate, for example one child was able to express his thoughts on the vicious cycle of violence, share his fears and wishes for a better future without violence. The teenagers who express themselves through art have also shown improvement in their anger management.
The art therapy programme consists of monthly women’s open art studio, weekly art therapy sessions, and children and youth open art studio during the school holidays.