Barry McDougal is star-ting to end violence

September 09, 2017

Barry McDougal weaves stars at Echuca Library.

A GRANDFATHER man who single-handedly wove 10,000 stars out of ribbons gave a talk at St Mary’s Primary School on Thursday, and by all accounts it was a stellar performance.

Barry McDougal (pictured left) made the stars for the Million Stars to End Violence project, which gathers people to talk about ways to end violence while their hands are busy making stars.

People from around the world are sending the stars to Brisbane, where they will be hung up as an art installation for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Before then, Barry hopes to make 100,000 stars with the help of local school children, who have already made their first 1000 stars.

“For the kids, it’s just a pretty little thing to weave,” Barry said.

“But as they get older and become our future politicians and business people, maybe they’ll remember this old guy who talked about violence when they were young.”

Born in 1940 during the violence of WWII, Barry said he was worried about the prospects of a WWIII for today’s children.

“It’s all happening again. You’ve got North Korea threatening to bomb America and the American president who is very aggressive, to say the least,’’ he said.

Barry describes himself as a pacifist who believes in discussion and promoting non-violent solutions to the world’s problems.

Closer to home, Barry said there was a lot of violence in the community which has escalated over the years.

“I’ve spoken to many teachers. Even the teachers at the kindergartens say that some of their students are experiencing violence at home,” he said.

But he hopes that the simple act of coming together to weave stars and talk about violence will bring the community together and help bring about peace.

St Mary’s Primary School staff member Stephanie Sage said Barry’s story inspired the children.

“Hopefully the kids take away the message that one person can make a difference,” she said.

“It’s a big star weaving project but he’s trying to do something to help — even if it’s smaller scale, even though he’s just one person from a small town. We thought he was an ordinary person trying to do something extraordinary.’’

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