Ending Violence Against Women: Teach A Woman 2 Fish Jamaica: From Tragedy To Passion
I have been out of commission for quite sometime as a social activist on world pulse. I had to take some time to heal and evaluate what I do and why I do what I do. In the process of doing this self-inquisition, Teach A Woman 2 Fish was birth forth. Let me start by telling my story first. My first story of World Pulse journal entry began with who I am and my own story of tragedy of being a survivor of childhood domestic violence and a victim of economic abuse. For the past thirteen years, I have been on a journey to recover from the economic abuse inflicted from the man I married and had two beautiful girls. His insecurity, and my strength and passion for women, mothers and my own brand of spirituality caused us to separate, but not without him attempting to snatch my soul from my body and cripple me economically. I escaped and I survived and have learned to thrive despite the tragedy, pain and loss of my two daughters. He took managed to take sell the house without me getting any of the proceeds and take my daughters because he crippled me financially from getting lawyers and subjected me to spiritual abuse, and often neglected subject in domestic violence. My daughters are almost grown now and because of his brain washing and continues threats of violence to my person, I have only been able to see them remotely through the internet. My daughter will be on CNN in December , and I will watch her in action with the rest of the for the first time in many years. While I will forever mourn the loss of my daughters because of economic abuse and a past history of domestic violence, I give credit to the power of spirituality, healing, domestic violence shelters and my education, which kept me afloat socially, economically and spiritually.
How have I survived? I went on a journey to discover who I am as a feminine infused body and learned about the feminine aspect of creation. I obtained healing from domestic violence shelters, counseling, vision quest, and journaling. and learning who I was as a spiritual being residing in a physical body. This journey culminated in me becoming a feminized minister of the Motherist tradition. Additionally, I began a spiritual organization, Umayat Spiritual Education Circle for Self-Realization, Earth Angels International Tribunal, and Earth Angels Storytime Yoga. I am a feminine, spiritualist, social activist on a mission to change the world one kind act at a time through my own self-soul realization. My spiritual beliefs provide me with the necessary tools, and faith to fight for the causes I believe in, knowing that it is not only woman who has been forgotten, but the very Mother of Creation herself. In over-standing the abuse of macrocosm, I have come to see its trickle down effects on the microcosm, knowing all things are interconnected, I work both on a spiritual level and a physical level to change the social conditions of my surroundings, through the programs produced by Umayat. In addition, I have worked in several countries as an International Educational Consultant for the Ministry of Health in Jamaica, Axum University, Marcus Garvey Pan Afrikan University and Mutessa I Royal University. I have volunteered for orphanages, and women's organizations to build their capacity.
Knowing where I have come from has provided the compass for the path I now journey on, in this body. Out of my love for my daughters and my mother, Teach A Woman 2 Fish Jamaica is born. My mother refused to leave her husband with four children because she felt economically, emotionally and spiritually dis-empowered. I failed to to leave my husband before he orchestrated his plan to disenfranchise me economically, and spiritually. I had my education to fall back on and was able to obtain employment quickly and reestablish myself financially. However women in third world countries have it harder when they lack education, employable skills and when the country lacks jobs to hire them. I want to be the change, I want to see in the world so returning to Jamaica where I first initiated my first women's empowerment program, completes my journey which included Ethiopia and Uganda.
In Ethiopia, I created the Women's Resource Center for Training and Development in an effort to empower young women in the University. Many of the young women at the University were involved heavily in sex trafficking. They were in the process of putting local prostitutes out of business to pay for their college expenses. I conducted a survey and heard from a significant number of students on the conditions of women at the University. The resource center was created to give them skills training and establish cooperative micro-economic projects to put money in their pockets and stop sex trafficking. Abortion had just been legal in Ethiopia for six months, and women were not accustomed to using condoms, so unwanted pregnancy rates were high. One should not have to engage in sex trafficking to gain an education and a viable income.
In Uganda, I worked with women's groups around land issues, Women of Hope. I developed sensitization workshops to increase land ownership among women. Women were being economically abused because they were denied land ownership. This had tragic results because the death of a spouse meant the loss of income, housing and homelessness for the widows. It was not uncommon for families to remove items such as furniture, cars and the woman from the house upon announcement of the death of her spouse. Hence, women and children were thrown into poverty and subjected to economic abuse. Additionally, I bought ten acres of land to establish Earth Angels Green Orphanage, because there were many orphans in Uganda due to HIV/AIDS epidemic. In the end, I too was chased from my land because set on fire by a disgruntled worker as a waring. It was being said that I was working as hard as a man to develop the land as a single woman and it was unacceptable, because I was a woman. The at the University where I worked disgruntled students went on strike and threatened faculty that worked with the Vice Chancellor and that included me. I had to leave Uganda, to save my life and left my land behind.
My passion for oversees work was fueled by my women initiated community development activities in Jamaica. In Jamaica, there are few jobs for the non-educated, unless they create their own. This is the economic climate in most third world countries. Even for the highly educated, jobs exist in scarcity. It is common for struggling families to put their children through school with hopes of them obtaining employment upon graduation, only to find they have an educated jobless youth whom they must continue to support on their meager income. With this being the case for many college graduates, you can imagine the scenario for uneducated women or women of domestic violence. In Jamaica there are only two domestic violence shelters with no economic empowerment attached. With little funding to fuel social projects Jamaican women often stay in domestic violent situations to avoid homelessness and starvation. American with the help of Allstate has instituted an economic empowerment program, but none exist in Jamaica. We want to end the cycle of violence and help more women to leave violent intimate partner relationships, so we have created Teach A Woman 2 Fish Jamaica.
I hope you will join me in my quest to continue to turn the tragedy of losing my daughters to economic abuse into triumph. Teach A Woman 2 Fish seeks to empower women of domestic violence to become thrivers through economic empowerment activities in financial literacy, on the job skills training, entrepreneurship and micro-lending. I am thankful for the lessons I have learned through my best friend pain, which made me know I needed to become the change I wanted to see in the world.
Teach A Woman 2 Fish participants will produce eco-friendly body products and locally grown medicinal herbs in a cooperative economic venture to fill a niche market with quality hand made products. The products are nourishing to the body, mind and soul. We are seeking to partner with other organizations to increase our capacity and outreach potential. Research demonstrates, women who become economically empowered are less likely to stay or become involved in intimate partner relationships. Therefore economic empowerment is a crucial component to stopping violence against women and children. This is the first of many Teach A Woman 2 Fish projects that will span the glob empowering women of domestic violence.