Why Women Need To Form Support Groups – Makinde
The need for women, especially those in crisis situations, to be supported by other women who may have dealt with similar situations successfully was recently emphasised at the launching of a women support group, Amazing Amazon Initiative, AAI.
The founder of the initiative, Mercy Makinde, said AAI was founded because there was a need for women to give support to one another and for them to rise up in the face of oppression.
She spoke extensively on her life’s journey from when she was given out in early marriage from the tender age of 18 years to 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 noted that it took her that long to leave and run for her dear life because of the lack of a support system in the society for women in troubled marriages.
“The society generally turns around to stigmatize and label the victim even when there is clear evidence that her life is at stake,” she said.
Makinde 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.
To Makinde, even if 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 can come together to celebrate, nurture, get mentored, get trainings, encouragement, console one another, network, learn and grow their business. She explained 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 I 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 succour and share proven and practical steps they 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.
Makinde said Amazing Amazon Initiative will provide a place 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 resource persons and facilitators who are experts in their different fields. By helping others, people in this support group will strengthen and empower themselves to enjoy personal growth and change in a way that individual therapy cannot achieve.
According to Makinde, “beyond the usual sermons of a seminar and coaching session, 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.”
In a demonstration of their claim to support and not just talk, a lady in the attendance 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 was promised whatever help and support she requires of the group. Others had employment issues, which the group had taken up to assist.
The Chairman, Board of Trustees of AAI, 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.
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