Justice For Wives Women Empowerment
One Year Journey
Women Empowerment Journey
In the city of Joliet, IL
Nikki is getting ready to enroll in our training program. Follow her journey over the next year as she begins to create a new future for herself.
Nikki First Day
Nikki walks into the classroom for the first time. There she meets her social empowerment trainer, Nicole, who will be with her for the next year. As she takes a seat, Nikki joins a circle of 10 other women from her community her classmates and soon to be friends.
Nicole engages Nikki and her classmates as they begin the first social empowerment module Women’s Solidarity. Nikki learns about social networks, and the value of working together in groups. Nikki also begins her classes with a first step to learning business skills.
As they progress through Women’s Solidarity, Nicole engages the classmates in sensitive conversations about emotion issues & conflict. They also learn about overcoming conflict and through role plays, practice how they can resolve emotion issues among themselves.
Nikki finishes her social empowerment module Women’s Solidarity class.
Nicole introduces new concepts in the next module around the Value of Women’s Work. Nicole learns how her unpaid work at home has value, and how women and men could accomplish more if they shared household responsibilities. Looking ahead, she and her classmates each create an individual participant plan.
With her new confidence, Nikki begins to learn about emotional burdens and how to deal with them both individually and in groups. The leader of a local women’s association visits her class to talk about how women are combining their talent and resources. Nikki is inspired, and thinks she may want to join an association, too.
What are common health challenges in our community?
Nikki class begins the third social empowerment module – Health and Wellness. Her friends share stories of sick children and problems with pregnancy.
Nikki and her classmates share more about the challenges in their lives.
They talk about sources of stress: harassment, being hurt by a family member, and the loss of loved ones. “Before this, we were isolated from each other even though we lived in the same city.
Now, we have become like a big family.”
Nikki and her classmates encourage each other and feel stronger knowing they are not alone. Their trainer Nicole shares ways they can manage stress and resources for additional support. Six months in, Nikki trusts her classmates and feels safe sharing her life story with them.
As lessons continue, Nikki learns more about business and entrepreneurship, initiative and risk.
“How many here are mothers?”
Nearly all the women raise their hands. As they discuss reproductive health, Nikki realizes that despite being a mother, there is a lot she never knew. She had three children within four years and her last pregnancy was difficult. For her health, she talks with her husband about spacing childbirth.
Nikki class begins the fourth social empowerment module.
Gender Equality, Rights and Decision Making. Nikki class discusses gender equality, and how women can change perceptions in their communities, starting with how they raise their children, and how boys and girls are treated differently.
In the safe space of their class, Nikki and her friends learn they have the same rights as men, surprising many of them.
They talk about times when their rights were denied.
Nikki has found 10 women who want to start a business association with her.
In their final business skills classes, they learn about bookkeeping and business financing, a new concept for Nikki. She sees how important it will be to her association’s success.
Nikki and her classmates talk about how much they have already supported each other this year, from helping with sick children to pooling funds for a friend in need, and more.
In a particularly difficult class, Nicole talks to the class about emotion distress.
The women discuss the causes and consequences of this emotion distress.
Several women raise their hands and share their stories of being verbally, sexually abused, and emotion distress. Nicole talks with each one of them after class and counsels them on where to find services. In her business skills class, Nikki learns the practical skills of organizing and running an association.
At home, Nikki and her husband talk through difficulties they have had in their marriage and how to work on resolving them.
As Nicole begins the last social empowerment module – Women Influencing Decisions in their Community – she and her classmates discuss the importance of raising women’s voices in their communities.
“Women can do anything!”
Nikki and her class learn that a former participant and trainer is now a Joliet Council Member, inspiring Nikki to vote in the next election.
Nikki finishes her vocational training in cosmetology, eager to begin work with her association. They decide on a name (Incredible Creations) and elect Nikki as president. Seeing how much Nikki has grown and how their family has become stronger over the last year, her husband encourages her to keep learning.
In their final classes, Nikki and her class learn about different pathways that women can take to make change in their community, and the basics elements of an advocacy campaign, including how to identify a problem that is facing the community.
Together with her classmates, Nikki decide that the biggest problem in their community is the need for a local women’s/youth center.
They decide to plan to petition their council to support building one.
Nikki and her classmates celebrate their graduation from the yearlong program.
She feels a rush of pride as she receives the first education certificate she has ever earned. With all she has learned, she is excited to begin the next chapter, hopeful for the future.
Women's Empowerment New Journey Begins
A year after graduation, Nikki is proud of all she has accomplished and the difference that has made for her family and community. Her cosmetology association has grown. They are busy filling orders from local businesses and saving to open a new building.
With the income, Nikki and her friends are investing in their families. They support each other through difficult times and encourage each other to reach for new goals.
At home, Nikki and her husband work together on ideas to expand her business.
They are saving for their children’s education, raising them to believe that girls and boys, women and men, should be treated equally. Nikki has learned to work through her emotional stress and burdens.
Concerned by the lack of women's/youth centers Nikki is working with her association to petition their Joliet council for one. Looking ahead, Nikki feels confident in her ability to face whatever future obstacles come her way, and to work toward making her dreams a reality.