Sun | Sep 19, 2021

DOPE supporting women towards healing

Published:Friday | March 29, 2019 | 12:00 AMVanessa James/Gleaner Writer
Shanice Todd (left) and Samoya Cochrane engage in conversation with the young ladies of the Keith community
Shanika Sutton (left) is presented a token from dope by Samoya Cochrane
Members of Team DOPE take the time out to share smiles with the camera.
Bathsheba Shaw (left) presents the Distinguished DOPE Women Leadership Award to Pastor Elaine Shaw at the launch of the DOPE Women Lead Project

In certain circles, the word ‘dope’ has a negative connotation because it is the street name for illicit drugs. In more recent times, the word has also been used as a slang to describe something that is very good. Today, however, dope is an acronym for a faith-based organisation that is focused on providing a platform to embolden the voices of women.

DOPE means Daughter of the Promised Empowered and it targets women who are fighting personal battles and struggling with mental health. DOPE offers a space where individuals can share their own stories and support each other in their journey towards healing.

Bathsheba Shaw, founder of DOPE, stated that it is from her own experiences that the organisation was created.

“The birth of this organisation was from my personal journey into womanhood, and also witnessing the pain of marginalised women through my period of engagement in professional workspaces,” she shared. “As a mental health advocate, this is most important to me, thus the core of DOPE empowerment is about healing and self-actualisation.”

The organisation had a launch of the DOPE Women Lead Project on Sunday, March 10, in the community of Keith, located in Discovery Bay, St Ann. The purpose of the project is to provide support to women who may be having economic challenges.

“My mother serves as host pastor for the Lifeline Deliverance Church of God in Keith for over 13 years, and I was aware of the economic/social challenges that some of her members faced daily,” Shaw stated. “As such, the women in attendance at the launch were given care packages and soul food in the form of a brief empowerment session, hosted under the theme ‘Processed for Greatness’,” she continued.

guest speakers

The launch had three presenters who spoke on topics that would help to empower women. These included Shanika Sutton, attorney-at-law and prophetess who spoke on the topic ‘Processed for Greatness’; Marsha Jarrett, who is an ordained minister and recording artiste, covered the topic ‘You are Divinely Qualified’; and Bathsheba Shaw spoke on ‘Developing a DOPE Mindset’.

To close the proceedings, Pastor Elaine Shaw was presented with the Distinguished DOPE Women Leadership Award for her work with women in Christian ministry. “DOPE is a pretty young organisation,” Shaw said. “I developed the concept in 2015; however, it wasn’t made public until 2018, when I launched my blog and started to share my thoughts on womanhood, expectations, ­challenges and personal experiences,” she continued.

According to Shaw, this gained public notice, particularly among women, and this challenged her to expand her reach.

“As the year progressed, we started to facilitate empowerment sessions with adolescents and women affected by abuse, stigma and discrimination associated with an HIV-positive status,” she further explained.

Shaw believes that the empowerment of women goes beyond sharing enlightened thoughts. Instead, it is focused on being actively engaged in the everyday experiences that shape the reality of these women, and doing what is possible to equip them to respond to these experiences.

“In 2019, we are hoping to continue expanding our outreach efforts, in addition to hosting seminars, launch our mentorship programme and our entrepreneurial activities that will be used to support our outreach initiatives,” Shaw told The Gleaner.

The highlights from the launch of the DOPE Women Lead Project can be viewed on Twitter: