Gbagyi is one of the indigenous languages of Nigeria's Federal Capital Territory (FCT), and the phrase "Shekwonazhi," which translates to "Made for Purpose," is meant to emphasise the idea that abused women and girls, despite dehumanisation, stigma, and the trauma that comes with it, were Made for Purpose. It encourages women to speak their minds, reminds them that they have a voice that should never be ignored, and encourages them to stand up for themselves in the face of abuse and stigma. It stresses the significance of confronting victimisation in order to progress, which in turn fosters rehabilitation and brings attention to the issue. Each Shekwonazhi woman was meant to serve a greater purpose. Her destiny is to use her powerful words and artistic expression to help victims of abuse, trauma, and discrimination find freedom and move on with their lives.
Our society's emphasis on silence, its lack of community, and the fear of shame all contribute to the isolation and, in extreme circumstances, including the death of women. The goal of this project is to create an AWWAS network of women who can "pay it forward" by leveraging their experiences of trauma to inspire others and effect positive social change. Having access to a network of women who have been through similar situations and who can relate to one another helps them gain the confidence to break free, express themselves and develop as individuals.
In 2023, AWWAS will begin her chain of creative therapy & expression meetings called, ‘The Circle’ to establish rapport and build relationships with community women. The Circle will host women in various communities to a round-seated event of creative expression and therapeutic storytelling; giving them opportunities to open up about cases of abuse-induced trauma and receive the counselling required. The women will also be given kits to encourage them on their storytelling and recovery journeys.
On 15th July, AWWAS will work with young women at the University of Abuja in collaboration with artists, therapists, mentors, and self-defence professionals. There will be a day-long workshop that will bring together the young women, student creative artists, and student activists who have been working on this issue, and will use panel discussions, Q&A sessions, showcases and creative storytelling to promote expression for gender justice and social change, encourage self-liberation, facilitate personal and communal healing, and educate the students on their responsibility in the fight against victimization of women. It will be the launch and inauguration day for the AWWAS Sisters’ Community.
This year, Shekwonazhi is highlighting pottery, a vital aspect of the Gbagyi tradition and a traditionally female-dominated profession. AWWAS will collaborate with an identified group of Gbagyi women to utilise clay to create works of art that communicate healing stories related to the organisation's mission.
On the 25th of November, the International Day of the Elimination of Violence Against Women, our community called ‘AWWAS Sisters’ will have its annual day to celebrate the coming together of community members. On this day, there will be a variety of art forms such as painting, photography, sculpture, writing, and dance. The artwork will symbolise the fight against violence against women and will serve as a reminder of the importance of standing up against gender-based discrimination. The event will also include a discussion panel featuring representatives from different sectors, such as non-governmental organisations, government, and media, who will share their perspectives on the issue. AWWAS Sisters’ annual event will help spread awareness and inspire more people to join the fight against gender-based violence.
Shekwonazhi Team Leads