Empower a woman. Three small words. Doesn’t sound like there should be much to it, does it? But it is a mammoth task, an unending task, sometimes even a thankless task. And yet, a necessary task.
When you think of women who are bruised, battered, broken and bereft of choices, it becomes easy to see that a little kindness, a little tenderness, a little time out from our own problems to help another could make the world of difference. And on Friday, 15th July, 2016, that’s exactly what Amanda Bedzrah and Rachel Osinaike set out to do.
A Night of Glamour was held in honour of women’s empowerment and it was a wonder to behold. These two powerhouses got together to inspire and empower women but they did it in style and glamour.
Hosted at the prestigious Hilton Dartford Bridge Hotel, more than 80 ladies arrived one after the other – beautiful stars that glittered in the night sky.
The pain behind the mask
What made this occasion so eye-opening was the truth behind what we could see. The truth being that when most people think of vulnerable women, they think of the downtrodden, cowering ladies. Sometimes, it is inconceivable that the glittering gem that one sees might be going through so much pain. And it is this fallacy that The Night of Glamour hoped to dispel with.
The ladies came in their gowns and their dresses. But they also came with their pain and their heartaches. As the amazing book ‘The Love That Set Me Free’ was discussed in depth, woman after woman bared her soul. We heard about divorce, abuse, violence and deprivation. We were moved to tears over accounts of loss – of pregnancies and loved ones.
But more than sadness, there was a feeling of joy and triumph. As each woman told her story, you couldn’t help but think “Yes, but they’re still here. They’re still standing. They overcame incredible odds and they’re still here. Smiling, achieving, living. Only such women – who have been through the flame and have risen like phoenixes from the other side – could ever hope to empower a woman.
And still, I rise…
But you’d be mistaken in thinking that the night was a sombre, serious affair. There was laughter, mirth and nonstop dancing! You know things are about to get real when heels fly off before the sumptuous three course meal was finished. And get real, they did! Ladies who’d previously looked as though they couldn’t say “Boo!” to a goose let it all hang out that night! Twirling, swirling, smiling and dancing, these women were simply thrilled to feel that sisterhood bond.
After the testimonies came the fun. So many people and companies were only too eager to donate gifts to this worthwhile event. And so it was that woman after woman came forth to claim prizes which included pamper vouchers…………
Proceeds from the ticket sales as well as the raffle draws all went to charities doing work both nationally and locally. This was more than just a song and dance. This awesome pair raised close to £2000 for charity, donating £437.50 to each worthy cause!
- EMPOWER A WOMAN – The charity organisation founded by Mrs Amanda Bedzrah, money donated towards Empower a Woman would go towards SMILE GIFTS, a free gift-giving service to vulnerable women on seasonal occasions.
- WOMEN EMPOWERING PROJECTS (Women’s Support Group) – This is the passion and brain child of Ms Rachel Osinaike. The Women’s Support Group is a new initiative designed to support women who are separated and divorced, providing the right tools, resources and information to enable these women live a fulfilled life.
- BEAUTY FROM ASHES – An inner healing ministry created and run by renowned author Jen Rees Larcombe with John and Carol Bostock. Please visit www.beautyfromashes.co.uk
- IMAGO DEI PRISON MINISTRY – A ministry committed to equipping prisoners in unlocking and living in their God given potential, set free from their past. Please visit www.idprisonministry.org.uk
One of my favourite parts of the night was the hand wrapped gift hamper each woman got to take away. Not only was there a goodie bag for each woman who came, but the organisers gifted each woman with an identical gift item in addition which they were asked to donate to a woman in need.
Each woman was tasked with finding a woman who could benefit from a small, loving gesture. This woman could be homeless, in dire straits or simply overwhelmed by life. The organisers had the inspired idea of making each gift identical as there was to be no difference in value between the woman who attended and the woman who received a gesture of love. Simply magnificent.
Recognition must go to Ms Osinaike and Mrs Bedzrah for an amazing night excellently put together. The fun flowed, the laughter overcame us at times, but we never forgot. That we were sisters, that we had formed a pact that night, that we were survivors.
To empower a woman is not easy, true. But it is really not that hard either.
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