Sisters Avelon and Andrea Davis Are Helping Orphaned Girls Succeed

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By Cherisse Moe, HER Magazine

Orphaned children face a myriad of challenges when they become adults and enter into a society they know little about. From a lack of job opportunities to a lack of self-confidence, the struggle is real.

International research indicates orphans face more negative psychosocial challenges than their counterparts do, including depression, anger, anxiety, and fear of an uncertain future.

Avelon and Andrea Davis are two sisters on a mission to help change the narrative of at-risk young adults – particularly girls – from one of hopelessness to a life of hope through their foundation, ABIDE (A Butterfly Institute of Development and Excellence).

Launched in 2021, ABIDE provides much needed workshops and social programmes in the areas of etiquette, youth-in-transition housing and homelessness services, hygiene, job training and placement initiatives, coaching, fundraising and donor engagement projects.

“We believe we can make a difference for both boys and girls transitioning out of the orphanage by filling in the gap with support, mentorship and education. However, the focus on girls is influenced by coming from a family of mainly women and having seen both ends of the spectrum – girls who are supported and those who lack sufficient support.”

This desire was further strengthened after visiting homes like St Jude’s Home for Girls and spending time with them and hearing their stories,” revealed Avelon, 32, ABIDE’s founder and director, who holds a degree in psychology with a minor in criminology from The University of the West Indies.

“By empowering these young women, there is a higher potential for breaking the cycle of third and fourth generation orphans. Educating them provides a greater chance of creating stability within the family unit and their communities with a higher standard of living.

“We feel that this will also help reduce domestic and sexual violence as young women become self-sustainable and independent from their abusers,” Andrea, the foundation’s co-founder and director, elaborated.

Andrea, 42, has a Master’s degree in business administration from the United Kingdom’s Anglia Ruskin University and is currently pursuing her doctorate at the Heriot-Watt University-Edinburgh, Scotland.

HER: What are some of the long-term goals of ABIDE?

Avelon: Over the course of the year, we hope to introduce a facility where programmes can be taught and further resources administered to support young women who are approaching the transition stage and those who have already aged-out.

We’re working to establish and implement a pre-transitional educational skill-building and personal development programme in orphanages (ages 14 to 18). We also hope to establish a transitional facility to provide full housing support, training rooms and health and wellness facilities to provide an intensive day-to-day support system.

We hope to partner with other NGOs and government organisations to gather research that can better aid in supporting orphans’ programmes.

HER: ABIDE is hosting an event soon called Shades of a Woman – A Health Affair. Can you give us some more info?

Andrea: The event is being done in partnership with The Bridge Foundation — a registered NGO with roots in the Caribbean and international communities.

It is the second part of a three-part series focused on educating and empowering women and girls in the areas of health, finance, and personal development. It will take place on May 7 at The Chancellor Hotel and will focus on the physical, mental, and psychological health of women.

It will feature some of the top medical doctors in Trinidad and Tobago and will provide participants with information in the areas of heart health, gynaecology, oncology, breast health and diabetes.

The event will provide health screenings such as blood pressure, eye examinations and stress relieving techniques. There will be product exhibitions and demonstrations, as well as live entertainment from local artistes.

How can people assist ABIDE to continue its work?

Avelon: We’re excited about additional support and welcome volunteers who can assist with workshops, lectures, events, in-kind donations (clothing, food items, school supplies, training supplies, computers etc), monetary sponsorships and donations.

To find out more about ABIDE, please visit:https://abidett.com/

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