Women in their throngs came out on the 6th of March 2016 to receive the best Mother’s day gift any woman could get! It was the launch of the first real action oriented Support Group for women in Nigeria; the AMAZING AMAZON INITIATIVE which held at Berkeley Hotel, GRA, Ikeja.
Adenike Ogunlesi, the owner of Ruff n Tumble who also happens to be the Chairperson of the Board of Trustee, chaired the occasion. Also in attendance was Laila St Matthew Daniels, a No Domestic Violence and Abuse advocate and Emeka Oparah, the Vice President Corporate Communications Airtel Nigeria who are also members of the Board. The special guests who graced the occasion includes some of Nollywood’s finest, Caroline Danjuma, and Adunni Ade who spoke to the women about their personal experiences and life’s lessons that left an indelible impression on them. Mrs. Toyin Collins, Pastor Edebi Otefe amongst others shared valued thoughts too.
The Visioneer and Founder of the initiative Mercy Makinde spoke extensively on her life’s journey from when she was given out in early marriage from the tender age of 18 years to a man older than her father till when she decided to take her destiny in her hands by walking away from the abusive marriage that lasted 11years of her early life.
She purported that it took her that long to leave and run for her dear life because of the lack of a support system in our society for women in troubled marriages. Rather than support, the society generally turns around to stigmatize and labels the victim even when there is clear evidence that the woman’s life is at stake!
She emphasized the need for women to come together to form a strong bond and create a platform for them to get support, coaching, mentoring, business and networking opportunities. Hence, the birth of AMAZING AMAZON initiative, which is a real ACTION oriented Women Support Group.
Mercy added that even though in our culture women rarely get to “hang out” or “seal deals over drinks” like the men folk, they however still need gatherings where they come together to celebrate, nurture, get mentored, get trainings, encouragement, console one another, network, learn and grow their business. She emphasized that women need, intimacy support and consolation, particularly during difficult times especially now that face-to-face interactions within our communities are becoming rare.
“We sometimes get support from family and friends, but sometimes they cannot easily understand what it’s like to be in our situation because they haven’t really walked in our shoes. But being in a group with people who have been in your same situation can help fill the void as they may be able to provide the needed succor and share proven and practical steps they once used in dealing with the situation. Whether a woman is dealing with illness, emotional problems, marital issues, parenting issues, life transitions, or a temporary situational crisis, we would come together with people in the same situation to offer each other support and encouragement’’…she said.
Amazing Amazon Initiative will provide a places where women can share personal stories, express emotions and be heard in an atmosphere of acceptance, understanding, and encouragement. Participants will get helpful information from Resources persons and Facilitators who are experts in their different fields of endeavor. By helping others, people in this support group will strengthen and empower themselves as these support from group members will enables personal growth and change in a way that individual therapy cannot achieve.
Beyond the usual sermons of a seminar and coaching sessions, the initiative will take practical steps to alleviate whatever travails a woman is going through. The group will be the “WHO” and “WHERE” that every woman should run to in her times of need and this network is open to women of all walks of life everywhere in Nigeria. After the Lagos launch, the next stop now is Abuja to be followed by Port Harcourt as women from these locations are already registering to become a part of the initiative.
In demonstration of their claim to support and not just talk, a lady in the attendance yesterday who owned up to currently being a victim of domestic violence was immediately given free legal services from a lawyer in the network from the Federal Ministry of Justice. Her case was immediately taken up and she will get whatever help and support she requires of the group. Others had employment issues, which the group had taken up to assist.
UBA Foundation also in solidarity and support of the initiative donated a hundred branded school bags to the group. These would be given out to the less privileged kids through their mothers.
The Chairman, Board of Trustees Mrs Adenike Ogunlesi spoke at length on how the women can still live a fulfilled and happy life even though it is difficult if not almost impossible to achieve a perfect balance in life. She did using a graphic illustration of life’s circle and the women excitedly joined in on the “wheel of life” exercise. She ended her session by emphasizing how important it is for women to join the network and she encouraged them all to sign up and join the forum as a lot awaits them.
Other speakers also shared some very valuable life lessons with the women who were yearning to hear more at the end of the programme. The event, which was proudly supported by Airtel Nigeria and Guardian Nigeria, left the women with a renewed vigor and hope.
To learn more and become a part of this great initiative, all you simply do is click on this link ‘ theamazingamazon.org ‘ .
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