There are so many women, who, despite being quite successful professionals in their own right, choose to stay home after their babies are born. There are some feminists who might have a huge problem with that concept, considering it a waste of their degree and expertise. But what they fail to understand is the inherent nature of a woman to nurture, to be constantly worried about her young ones. They would hate to leave their children behind with hired help. And with all the terrible stories one hears nowadays about maids mistreating children behind their parents' backs, who can blame them? But let's not forget that these women still have all that education and intelligence lurking in their head. And quite often they want to exercise it. You! takes a look at a support group WeldonMoms that is run by a single mother. Read on to find out more...
"It is difficult being a single parent - as a mother and as a lady," opines Anila Weldon, the founder of a very successful and beneficial project, WeldonMoms. Anila Weldon did BBA in Marketing from Greenwich University, but had embarked upon her career in IT way before she completed her degree.
"I was weak at Mathematics and Physics, and was not allowed to take up Computer Studies as a subject. However, I loved computers and was techno savvy, so my father bought me a computer. I taught myself the intricacies of this field by reading books on the subject and attending computer courses. In 1995, I started Weldon B.B.S (Internet Marketing). The best part about my business was that no one knew I was operating from home! I soon became very successful and people started trusting me," reveals Anila. "I started running my business online at a time when parents did not provide a separate landline to their daughters, let alone a PC! My parents were very supportive and I had their complete trust. It was my father's confidence in me that enabled me to set up my business. My mother was apprehensive because I was very young, and at times had to go out alone for meetings. She helped by providing me transport. In return, I wanted to make my parents proud of my achievements," discloses Anila candidly and adds, "I now run three lucrative businesses."
Anila has been a single mother for the past three years and appreciates the difficulties of women who have to venture out to make a living. "I became a mom in 2006 and realised how difficult it is to work with kids. So, I initiated this project from home to support mothers and their young babies.
WeldonMoms is a support group for women created by Anila Weldon. It was started with the aim to 'empower, support and facilitate women during their transition to parenthood'. Among other things, the group lends support to moms in starting their own businesses from home by conducting workshops which offers women a chance to discover their options. Anila Weldon believes in identifying the interests of her clients and converting them into tools for making a living. WeldonMoms is a very strong support group for its members and help them connect and network with other moms, and form lasting friendships that enrich parenting experience.
"My concept for a support group for moms was a new idea here, although it is pretty common in the West. So my first batch consisted of mostly friends; I just wanted a roomful of women! But very soon, through word of mouth, women discovered about the usefulness of WeldonMoms and now it consists of more than 13000 members!"
Anila believes that whatever one wants to do should be done with passion, "Whether you are making samosas or working at Silicon Valley, unless you have passion for the work you do, you cannot excel. Basically, through seminars and workshops, I try to help women find out what they are interested in, and suggest ways they can translate their passions into making money. My seminars and workshops are not very expensive. Sometimes, I hold free seminars when I don't have to invest. Then there are those that range from Rs500 to Rs5000, depending upon the costs I incur. If you have the drive, you can do anything," shares Anila.
'Techknow Moms' is another one in a series of workshops conducted by WeldonMoms, which teaches women to make big bucks all the while sitting at home by applying all that hard earned training and education. So you're happy, your hubby is happy, your kids are happy and it's a win win situation!
Recently, Intel Pakistan collaborated with WeldonMoms to train a batch of 50 mothers in using the latest machines with an aim to help them start or promote their businesses from home.
When I received an invite for the Weldon Mom's 'Techknow Moms' event, I thought it was going to be a bunch of bored mothers looking to pass the time by learning basic computer skills. In short, I was completely prepared to be bored out of my mind. All these notions were firmly thrown out of the window after attending the session. The 'bored moms' turned out to be business graduates, IT specialists, high powered executives, lawyers, graphic designers, event planners etc. Far from learning how to plug the computer in, these women were there to fulfill one common goal: start their own online business!
You! spoke to Saira Faruqi, who is a single parent and a part of WeldonMoms. "I am a single mother, and I have a daughter. I saw Anila Weldon's advertisement when my daughter was two or three months old. I joined in and got to meet moms who had kids of the same age group.
"I have made many good friends through WeldonMoms, and we have bonded really well. Whether it is having coffee together or looking after the kids of other moms when they need help, we all support each other. I have a catering business that I run from home and my clients are mostly WeldonMoms and the people they have told about my enterprise.
"I get time to look after my father and daughter, Minelle, since I operate from home. My business started as a hobby ... had I considered taking up catering as my career I would have attended a culinary school! But I am doing well, thanks to the support and word of mouth publicity I get through this platform," enthuses Saira.
This support group is not just a platform for launching your business; its members provide solid support to each other. Saira recently went through a harrowing ordeal and was helped by her friends from WeldonMoms every step of the way. "Recently, I was diagnosed with cancer and during my chemo my WeldonMoms group supported me. They looked after Minelle, stayed with me at the hospital during my chemo sessions and were a great source of strength. It's not just light support, mine is a heavy duty support group," says Saira. So how is business these days? "Thriving," shares Saira. "I have now three helpers and am expending and planning my kitchen. My khausay and fondant cakes are very popular, and I do theme cakes, too. Also, I am more reasonable priced than others who are doing fondant cake."
Working mothers have long been accused of being too ambitious, too career oriented. But for a lot of these mothers, it's not always a matter of choice; it's a necessity. A lot of these moms don't necessarily want to leave their kids behind and actually despair when they are forced to do so. Then there are those women who have spent their entire lives studying and honing their talents. Wasting all of that is abhorrent to them and rightly so. Earning while sitting at home is the ideal happy medium that enables women to balance their nurturing side and their ambitions and workshops like these will help more and more women realise that.