Why I’m helping women in business to fight substance addiction

Sabrina Ejore Chief Executive officer and founder of Precious Connections. She’s a mental health champion and has been helping women battling substance addiction. Photos/POOL

What you need to know:

Losing her husband to cancer early in their marriage pushed Sabrina Ejore into depression which was also precipitated by her business closure, after spending all their money to deal with her husband’s illness.  Now back in business, she is aiding women to fight drug addiction and mental illness

For more than 10 years, Sabrina Ejore has been running her businesses successfully as well as offering support to upcoming entrepreneurs. Although she faced tough times in the first four years in business, she managed to pull through. This was until three years ago when she decided to make it her business to offer support to career women battling substance addiction.

“I was born and raised in Mombasa County, where I got firsthand experience of the effects of drugs on people including career women.

Being the Chief Executive officer and founder of Precious Connections Ltd, a company that provides Business Solutions for both products and services, I have interacted with a number of women both in employment and business battling various drug addictions.

I have over 10 years of experience in business consultancy services and professional business training services, which gives me maximum interaction with women in various capacities.

At first, my focus was to provide support for people going through mental challenges like depression.

With time, I learned that amongst those going through these challenges, some prefer to keep the troubles to themselves but resort to heavy drinking and the use of other drugs, leading to addiction.

Even after addiction, some people seek help to do away with substance abuse but I realised women shied away from looking for assistance, yet they suffered in equal measure.

I started the journey in 2019 following a personal struggle with depression after losing my husband early in our marriage in 2015 which left me with two children.

My husband was diagnosed with cancer when I was four months pregnant with our second baby. He passed on when the baby was only two months old, leaving me helpless and depressed.

I was diagnosed with multiple mental disorders which was compounded with bankruptcy as we had to spend all our savings on his treatment, which also saw me close down my business.

I resorted to going back to my family’s home where I received support in raising my children as well as coping with the loss of my husband.

Through the support of my family, I was able to raise some capital to bounce back to my business.

My business involved importation of a variety of items in bulk which include electronic and pharmaceutical products and selling them to clients in Mombasa and Nairobi.

The business picked up well even though I was still very fresh in Nairobi, but I had the determination to ensure that it works for me.

Despite running the business I offered support to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) through coaching and mentoring on how to build a profitable business.

My journey in mental health awareness has seen me help dozens of women deal with conditions that in most cases lead to alcohol and other substance abuse.

This has been made successful through a psychological support initiative dubbed Quantum Leap Programme (QLP) which I run through collaborating with various experts.

What has worked well for me is the realisation that some of these women who are into substance abuse got into it to distract themselves from mental issues which can be handled by seeking professional help.

Once a person battling mental challenges or addiction opens up, I recommend or refer them to a counseling center because the experts are in a better position to guide her.

My role is to create a safe space for them to come for the guidance and recommendations that I may offer.

The experts may then recommend the person to go to rehab or give sustainable and workable solutions.

This has helped me and the partners I bring on board in finding solutions for the afflicted women since each one of them has unique challenges.

Through telling my own story and opening doors to those afflicted by substance abuse, more women are coming out to seek help.

The programme runs as part of my company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and some well-wishers sponsor some slots, which come in handy.

I’ve also been part of a campaign which encourages human resource departments in various institutions to come up with policies to put more focus on the mental wellness of their employees.

I see the number of suicide cases going down if these cases are handled differently.

The stigma that comes with sharing mental challenges has blocked most of the victims from sharing or seeking help, thus seeking solace in substance abuse.

There’s therefore a need to normalise the discussions on matters surrounding mental health so that no one will shy away from sharing in case they are going through a challenge.

It's important to seek proper ways of managing the causes and triggers of the challenges one is experiencing.

Having a support system within the community for those battling mental health challenges also goes a long way.”


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