Be inspired by a life achiever

WHEN it comes to woman empowerment, who better to talk to for Women’s Month than a “female and kids empowerment coach”. Farah Manjoo shared her experiences with Stanger Weekly.

JYOTHI LALDAS (JL): Who are you and what does Women’s Day mean to you?

FARAH MANJOO (FM): I am a female and kids empowerment coach who inspires and empowers women and children across the globe through my inspirational writing, talks, workshops and one-on-one programme sessions. I hold many identities, firstly as a wife, a mother of three, an ex-educator and a clinical psychology student. In fact I see myself as an eternal student. I love enriching myself with beneficial knowledge at any opportunity because knowledge, for me, is light and power.

On Women’s Day, we should be proud of the amazing role that we play in our homes and society, and the greater impact we make on the rest of the world. The value of a woman is priceless, but sometimes it goes unnoticed by even herself. So it is a great reminder and opportunity to honour yourself by uplifting your positive strengths and talents, and by celebrating the extraordinary unique being that you are!

JL: What does it mean to be a woman in this part of the world and in the society you live in?

FM: I feel that women do not always get the respect and validation that they deserve.

From my personal experiences, and through working with many culturally diverse women, it is common that we self sacrifice and over compromise to make others happy. This people-pleasing tendency is what dulls our self worth and ability to shine. We are looked down upon by others for our past mistakes and for not conforming to social norms. After marriage, women are ostracised and treated with prejudice based on their backgrounds and family lineages. Without realising it, such women sell themselves short and choose to settle in life, existing but not living! This is because they believe they are not good enough or do not have what it takes to succeed.

My purpose in life is to break this trend and vicious cycle that causes inner suffering and to teach women how to gain self respect and reclaim their self worth.

I have witnessed many profound transformations in the course of my work. Many women have found their true life purpose and passion and achieved their dreams and goals. They managed to break free from self limitations and societies’ expectations of them.

JL: Which women are you inspired by in your local community and around the globe?

FM: I am inspired by Brandon Bays, Donna McCallum, Carrie Cardozo, Stef Ventura, Hanna Kok, Carla Hannaford and Lydia Hoyland. All of these amazing women are internationally recognised motivational speakers, healing practitioners, therapists or empowerment coaches. They are passionate and selfless in making a difference by uplifting and empowering other women. I aspire towards achieving the greatness and success of these women and to make a positive difference to many lives worldwide.

JL: What are the “women’s themes” that still need greater awareness in your opinion?

FM: Women’s themes that need greater awareness would be building a higher self esteem, overcoming communication blocks and gaining more independence. Many women that I have facilitated suffer from a lack of confidence and self esteem. If they believe in themselves, they can make a positive difference in their communities. It takes courage and confidence to stand up for your values. Learning to communicate effectively can heal relationships and bring love and unity to families and communities. The power of the spoken word heals. We can use our voices to uplift others through public speaking.

JL: What taboos related to the theme of women do you wish were broken?

FM: The issue of divorced women being judged and ostracised in their communities. I was divorced at the young age of 24 with a two year old child and many people put me down and criticised me, which made me feel as though my life was over. I overcame this very traumatic period in my life by working two jobs, which made me very independent and strong. After a year of difficulty, and being a single mother, I found a man with all of the qualities I was looking for in a husband and we fell in love and got married. Many people were critical of me for re-marrying with a child, but I managed to build a happy marriage against all odds. Now I can say that I am free and happy with the choices I made because I found happiness with my true love, and we have a beautiful family that I am grateful for. I prevailed and proved to myself that I am a success story.

JL: What message would you like to send to the women in your community?

FM: Follow your dreams and do what brings you happiness. It is not selfish to put your own happiness and peace first as this will have a ripple effect on your family, clients/workers, community and the rest of the world.

If someone does not respect or value your worth, then shed such people from your life by respecting yourself. The defining factor for progress in life is in staying true to yourself in all circumstances. Stand out amongst the crowd, follow your own path and be the real, authentic you.