Empowering women to be their best

PASSION pushed Paula Thomson to quit her teaching day job to instead devote herself to empowering women from disadvantaged backgrounds, allowing them to be able to provide for their families.

Now her full-time job, Thomson initially started helping women while still teaching, being part of an outreach programme which was offered by the Hillcrest Aids Centre Trust (Hact).

“Seeing what an income can do for those women I was teaching was truly what made me quit and join the Hact to do it on a full-time basis.”

She said she’s been with the centre for 16 years and she wouldn’t trade that experience for anything in the world.

“It brings me joy seeing how much impact I bring to those women’s lives and that’s what has kept me going these past years — and I’m still going to do so for another 16 years.

“It brings joy into my heart that I’ve helped someone put food on their table, clothe their children and pay for their school fees,” she enthused.

During the past 16 years that she’s been with Hact, Thomson says she has constantly been on the lookout for ways to improve even further.

“I’m still teaching, in a way, but I’m also being taught. Because I have developed a love for learning, and I also give back to the community, it is a two-fold experience,” she said. Thomson said she is also inspired by the women she assists daily because of what some of them have been able to overcome in their lives.

“They’ve been through a lot and it gives me great pleasure to have played a role in moulding them into being strong women who are able to look after their families with no fear of being looked down upon,” said Thomson.

She urged other women in the community to never give up on their dreams, and to be the best version of themselves daily.