Sun | Oct 22, 2017

SUPHER comes through for battered women

Published:Saturday | August 12, 2017 | 12:55 AMTamara Bailey
Two participants with Althea Laing (centre) during her presentation.
Marie BerBick, co-founder of SUPHER.
A member of SUPHER and presenter (from left) Dr Karen Dunkley and Althea Laing.
Dr Sandra Knight, memebr of SUPHER.
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Mandeville, Manchester 

Sisters Uplifted through Prayer, Healing, Empowerment and Restoration (SUPHER) continues to help several women in and out of the church to find a footing after a life of abuse and being at ground zero. 

SUPHER was founded in 2013 in response to a need that co-founder, Marie Berbick and two other women; the late Reverend Maria Azan and Marcia Wright, identified within their church body.

According to Berbic, "As women who were either going through something ourselves, or had gone through something, we decided to create our own support and make it available to others. This was the genesis of SUPHER, which has now provided support to over 100 women locally and many others across the world through email and social media. Our efforts are mainly self-funded, because of the passion we have for helping others."

That passion transcended in their first ever boot camp held recently at the Knowles Road New Testament Church Hall, which saw members of the team sharing pieces of their own life story and providing tips to fast tracking one's life to the many women in attendance. 

"To a great extent, the mentors of SUPHER are women who have been through their own storms and can relate well to the issues that other women face — many of which are similar in nature to what they might have experienced." 

She revealed, "When someone contacts us, we assess their situation and assign the mentor who is most suitable based on factors such as experience and personality, because they must be able to connect with the mentee.  We interact with persons through email, social media, telephone calls and we have a Whatsapp group, through which we offer daily inspiration and support."

SUPHER mentors are not only located in Jamaica, but are based in New York and the Bahamas. 

Empowering women

"Our ultimate aim is to set up a skills training arm that provides training that empowers women, and establish a safe house in Jamaica, that women in abusive relationships can turn to if necessary. We currently have a safe house outside of Jamaica, which is facilitated by a kind supporter who wants to help those women who really need to get away from their situation and refocus," Berbic revealed.

The presentations at the boot camp included: Developing a life plan, with Dr Karen Dunkley; Etiquette and Deportment for Ladies, with Althea Laing; Identity and Self-Esteem, with Carla Francis-Edie; Taking Care of the Physical Body, with Dr. Sandra Knight; and Marie Berbic spoke mainly to identifying gift and purpose and how to recognise when the negative things that are happening in one's life are really pushing them into purpose. 

Women in need of support may call 832-4867 or email sistersunitedja@gmail.com

There is also a SUPHER Facebook page and a blog through which contact can be made. https://wordpress.com/page/marieberbick.wordpress.com 

familyandreligion@gleanerjm.com