Chow Kit kids reclaim the ‘hood

A sanctuary for children at the heart of Kuala Lumpur’s infamous Chow Kit district is slowly transforming the area, one child at a time. KL Krash Pad, with the help of Chow Kit Kita is giving them a voice and a fresh new start through art.

Located on Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, KL Krash Pad is a colourful and lively contrast to a road filled with old decaying buildings.

Inside, KL Krash Pad, is well-equipped with most essential facilities, from a library to a bar-style cafe, and is now home to Chow Kit Kita.

Chow Kit Kita is the brainchild of Lew Pik-Svonn and Fahmi Reza, who developed the project after visiting the then-underutilised KL Krash Pad and decided something had to be done to put the facility to use.

Chow Kit Kita, dubbed as a community mapping project, caters to a wide range of children of all ages from around Chow Kit, of various backgrounds, providing them with a safe haven to be kids.

Chow Kita Kita is divided into six phases, with each phase focusing on one distinctive facet of Chow Kit, while arming the children with artistic skills to capture these facets.

The first phase which started last year focused on ethnicity and religion, giving the children a chance to capture their perspective of the theme with the tools and skills given to them, such as photography and T-shirt printing.

Some of the work done by the children in the first phase includes producing a short documentary on the religious diversity found in Chow Kit, taking 100 photographs of different people who call Chow Kit their home, drawing a mural symbolising Chow Kit and drawing a map of all the prominent and favourite places in Chow Kit, and add to it as they rediscover their neighbourhood throughout the project.

Chow Kit Kita phase two, which began this year focuses on food. Chow Kit has traditionally been a marketplace for food traders and now boasts a wide range of local and foreign cuisines, including the Isfahan Biryani, sold by the only Iranian shop serving it in Kuala Lumpur.

The second phase will end soon and with that, Pesta Chow Kit will be held to showcase all the work done by the children, along with performances and a wide range of activities. The big bash will be held on 17 June, from 12 to 7 pm.