Jeiwa Power House, an Integrated Community Hub

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Façade of JEIWA Power House at Paradigm Mall, Johor Bahru

In modern communities, many women even educated ones, are being trapped in domestic violence and afraid to move out of their sphere of violence.

But the brave women who have come out of it, can seek help and support from JEIWA to find their way again and have hope to live better lives.

Since its inception in October 2015, the NGO better known as JEIWA, the short-form for Johor Empowerment of Intellectual Women Association has been actively involved in activities that help victims of domestic violence regain their confidence and develop skills to contribute to the community again.

While women may have redefined their roles in the community since the 1900s, there is still a big gap in gender equality so women must play their roles in their own spheres of influence to work at closing this gap.

Nor Fadilah Mohamed Nizar, a victim of domestic violence who persevered and overcame the suffering, formed this support group to help fellow victims free themselves from spheres of violence and rebuild their lives.

Now happily remarried, Fadilah partnered with other women activists and founded JEIWA, an NGO that was officially launched in October 2015 and remains as the founding president.

A view of the integrated community hub in the mall that features designs that use traditional cengal wood-carvings

Besides providing a platform to help women start a new life from a post-domestic violence relationship, JEIWA aims to establish programmes at national level and recommend new policies to combat domestic violence and provide opportunities for women.

Her passion to empower women to contribute to the community and become agents of change in the country is evident from the various successful projects by JEIWA.

To ensure sustainability and stability of the target group and continuous participation from the community in charity and volunteer activities, JEIWA established JEIWA Global Resources, a Social Enterprise company that manages JEIWA Power House, Malaysia first Integrated Community Hub.

Officially opened on 31st July 2019, JEIWA Power House (JPH) is located at Lot 2F-11, Level Two of Paradigm Mall Johor Bahru.

On my recent visit to JPH, Fadilah gave me a tour of the premises and shared that this community centre houses a retail space, a café which serves Johor traditional cuisine, a place for Art & Craft demonstrations and products like batik and hand-painted tiffin carriers.

The centre is designed with an office for JEIWA headquarters, a counselling room, a training room, a preparation kitchen, Juice and Coffee Bar, a library and even a mini stage for exhibitions and shows.

A range of limited edition, hand-painted tiffin carriers – a signature product by JEIWA; ideal for use and a pride to present as gifts to others

From its façade, I can appreciate how its design incorporates Malaysian architecture using cengal wood-carving.

Meanwhile, the privacy of a counselling room is readily available for women who come to JPH, seeking help.

Fadilah also introduced me to Amiratul Farahin, an aspiring disabled person who will represent Malaysia in the Abilympic painting competition to be held in Moscow in 2020.

She has designed and is painting a mural, a work-in-progress as Amiratul works to complete it on an entire wall within the premises.

Fadilah tells me that JPH aims to provide a platform for the community especially women, to have retail space to promote and market their products, exhibit their handicrafts, sell Johor souvenirs and for visitors and tourists to enjoy Johor cuisine.

On a chalk board, I read the menu that includes Lamb Nasi Briyani (rice), Asam Pedas Nanas Ikan Jenahak (fish) and Laksa Johor.

There are also beverages, hot snacks and signature JEIWA Kebabs with special sauce, as well as a menu of local cuisine prepared by women who are supported by JEIWA.

The charming hand-painted tiffin carrier is a JPH signature product and I like how their Johor cuisine is served in these uniquely designed tiffin carriers.

A range of limited edition, hand-painted tiffin carriers designed by Fadilah, are for sale and the proceeds would help domestic violence survivors and finance JEIWA Research Projects.

Besides a Food & Beverage business, the training room which has a seating capacity for 30 guests, is available for training activities, private dining and community activities.

The library of books in the community centre encourages reading and relaxing in the café over a drink or meal

I cannot help noticing the wooden furniture in the café and Fadilah explains that JPH is collaborating with the supplier to promote these specially designed furniture that are both compact and space-saving.

To demonstrate, she lifted wooden panels off the table top to reveal a ready-made congkak traditional game on the lower layer and a checkered board for chess on another layer!

With a swift tug, she pulled out the collapsible wooden seats that are cleverly concealed under the table.

A range of wooden tables being used in the café are display models which customers may see and experience before they placed orders for their own.

JEIWA also gathers expert advisors to help in their outreach to a wider community to provide services and support.

In fact, JEIWA is a permanent member and presenter at the World Women Conference, an annual international level event.

In addition to helping the community, JEIWA encourages individuals and corporations to participate with JPH through their talents and skills, donation of items for the center’s use and with financial support.

The setting up of JPH was with the support of more than 56 partners nationwide and from Singapore, who generously donated goods and services at zero cost.

They are Homlux Interior Design & Furnishing (Interior Designer & Contractor), Smart Acc (POS Sytem), Force 21 (Security System), Dankoff Coffee (Coffee Machine), Fresco (Barista Training), Paradigm Mall (Venue), MN Puncak Niaga (Furniture), Seamaster (Paint) and many more.

Above all, a special renovation grant was provided by Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) Youth2 Biz, a programme to promote business shared facilities.

The JPH is indeed an exciting avenue, designed to encourage and empower women who are seeking to rebuild their lives and JEIWA needs your support to make this integrated community hub a success.

So how can you participate with JEIWA?

For a start, patronize JPH for local food and products or organise events at JPH and enjoy meals catered by JEIWA’s home-cooked menu.

For more information on JEIWA and JPH, follow Instagram/Facebook page for Jeiwapowerhouse or email JEIWA Global Resources at: ceojgr@gmail.com.