The Pearl Project launches in Kingston to champion survivors of abuse

Robyn Harper, Sushila Abraham Emeritus Mayor for the Royal Borough of Kingston and Sarah Clay, CEO of Voices of Hope – at the Pearl Project launch on International Women’s Day Photo: Robyn Harper Photography

Two charities, Voices of Hope and Kingston Women’s Hub, have joined forces with photographer Robyn Harper to to tell the stories of women who have experienced abuse through writing, photography and film.

The Pearl Project is to take place on November 12 at Kingsgate Church Kingston with an aim to champion survivors within the community.

Photographer Harper said: “I want to be a storyteller and give people a voice who have been exposed to and/or suffered abuse. People who have come out of their story and can give hope to others.”

The evening will include a book of documented series and creative writing for each attendee about the survivors who have suffered abuse, a photographic exhibition giving voice to the journeys of the women, a short film documentary and live performances of inspiring songs.

The event is supported by the Kingston Council and Refuge, a charity that provides specialist support to both women and children who have experienced domestic violence. Kingston University and many others, with the mayor of Kingston, presented the first ever Kingston Borough Pearl Awards which will recognise and honour those who tell their stories.

BTS Shoots at Fenwick in Kingston Photo: Robyn Harper Photography

There are a number of organisations involved in Kingston’s Womens Hub, with many services available for those leaving domestic abuse, individuals looking to rebuild their lives and also community well-being support.

The Sisterhood Sanctuary (Tuesdays at Kingsgate Church) is one of these groups. Kingston Women’s Hub Manager Candice Roggeveen said: “it is a place for individuals to come together to rebuild confidence, make friendships and create a community.”

The Hub is run by by the charity alongside Refuge, Royal Borough of Kingston, the staff and volunteers.

A volunteer at the Sisterhood Sanctuary said: “It’s nice getting to know and speak to all the different types of people who come along each week. Usually people are so busy with their lives, so it’s nice to come here and relax.”

Tickets for the event are free, but any amount donated will go towards the current and upcoming work of Kingston Women’s Hub.

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