- What three words describe Zina Arinze?
Three words that describe me are Vibrant, Resilient and Compassionate
- As the winner of the ‘Inspirational Woman of the Year’ how did you feel on winning that category and tell us a bit about who you are and what you do?
At first! I was absolutely gob smacked, I was not expecting to win in a million years. Our category was so strong with very amazing and befitting nominees, all inspirational powerhouses in their own right. I was just incredibly grateful to have been nominated and then selected as a finalist. I came to the event to have a good time, soak up the atmosphere and meet lovely people – some old friends and many new….oh yes to dress up too. I missed 2016 because I was speaking at another event outside London, so was really looking forward to what promised to be a wonderful night, if last year’s fabulous photos were anything to go by.
To win was really the icing on the cake in every respect, totally humbling and very emotional being recognised for the work I do in a very unpopular, look down upon part of life – helping those impacted by divorce, breakup and abuse to believe and live again. When I started this work five years ago in 2012, many people said I was mad, why on earth would I want to put myself out there to help women who could not keep their homes or husbands, women who ended up be left or got divorced no matter the reason?, On several occasions I was asked under the guise of concern, why would I want to stand up for women who brought shame to the church and to their families by not just keeping quiet about the violence they were experiencing ? who rather than keep their pain private spoke up. In the Christian faith, many use the scripture in Malachi – “God hates divorce” to make these women live a life of permanent shame and blame, many are literally ostracised from their communities with no help, living in abject poverty, in debt or both on the premise that they deserve everything that has come their way. Many say that they should have been like our mothers and grandmother’s turning a blind eye at the several affairs, begged for forgiveness after yet another beating or another spousal rape. God does hate divorce, so do I for that matter but God does not hate the divorcee, the abuse victim, the socially excluded, the mental health sufferer, the woman who does not know where her next meal will come from or how to support herself and her children. Yes! What about the children? Who cares and shows love, support, encouragement and empowers that woman to regain her feminine power, her self belief, so that she and her children are able to start again? Perhaps, all that woman needs is someone to understand, be her cheer leader, show empathy, be compassionate and help her to start again, maybe help her revamp her CV, teach her interviewing skills, perhaps invest in her new business idea or just look after her kids while she works a second night job to make ends meet or burns the midnight oil studying a new course to better herself and change her career. If my work, my services, my own personal journey has been able to do this for just one woman in the world – then I am happy. Lastly, winning this award is for those women, those who are still alive and also for those who sadly lost their lives in silence. This award is to say their lives and deaths have not been in vain. For as many, who either need help or want to know more about what I do and would like to volunteer, please feel free to visit www.believeandliveagain.com . We are a Post Divorce Lifestyle Coaching, Abuse Recovery and Reinvention Mentoring Service for Female Professionals, Women of Faith, Mumpreneurs and Business Women from around the globe.
- If you could change one thing about what you do to make it have a greater impact, what would it be?
Funding and platforms to amplify my message and inspire people to show up as their true selves and not as a bad counterfeit. I find that many people wear a mask and so don’t access the help available for fear of appearing weak or a failure. I believe if more people were bold enough to be authentic and show their vulnerability by sharing their stories, more lives can be saved and children removed from toxic environments. Many are alive physically but are actually living dead. Let’s ditch the “keeping up appearances” and become our sister’s or even brother’s keeper. There are so many around the world who need help right now as I speak, I can’t do this by myself.
- When life throws you challenges, how do you handle them?
Cry under the duvet….yes! I am human️️ Then I get annoyed at myself for even thinking that tears would melt the challenges away. I emerge from the duvet to laugh at myself, then I Pray, Encourage myself and then bounce back up to overcome, there is always a way with God’s help. He has never failed me yet.
Shh! Don’t tell anyone…I also pour myself a drink of ice cold coke with even more ice, then go shopping…very therapeutic I find, but beware!…this can cause a lot of damage if you don’t reign it in? Thank God for the returns policies.
- How would you encourage more women to live out their dreams?
I believe that every woman who has ever been lost, lonely, confused, overwhelmed, crushed, misused and in pain as a result of the stigma, trauma and grief of divorce, separation, relationship breakup or domestic abuse deserves the chance to rewrite their rhetoric, reinvent their lives and their story so that they are able to rediscover themselves, find joy and live the amazing life they deserve. I am here until I breathe my last breath to share through speaking, workshops, via my various coaching programmes as well as mentoring services , retreats and through my weekly Believe and Live Again radio shows , to help and inspire women to reclaim their lives, uncover their hidden talents and passions by taking action step by step. It is all about transforming lives of women and their children so that they go on to make a difference in their world too.
- Who would you say has been your inspiration and why?
It has to be Dr Maya Angelou and Mother Theresa for different reasons. Dr Maya for her intellect, self belief, her unparalleled wisdom, resilience and her phenomenal way with words – she opens her mouth and you are just mesmerised into action. Mother Theresa for her relentless, very tangible non judgemental love and compassion. Her work announced her faith. I have to add Winnie Mandela and Michelle Obama. I like the fact they are focused and continued to be their true selves, standing up, fighting for their beliefs and not swayed by public opinion. Last but not least my Mother – sacrificial, stoic, fiercely supportive and unwavering. My Dad – I would need a book.
My two princesses – Jade and Crystal
- What is the one thing you love most about Africa?
Sorry, it is more than one thing ….unwavering resilience, diversity, our colours, strength, courage, warmth, vibrancy and depth. Many continents would have been expunged from the face of the earth if they have had to go through a fraction of our journey.
- Do you have website? Are you on Social Media?
Yes I do.
Or call +44 208 938 3672 (24 hours) from anywhere in the world.
Also, there are loads of free downloadable resources at www.believeandliveagain.com/free-downloads