Why I want to help people overcome traumatic events – Alice Agada

Ms Alice Agada is a trained lawyer and humanitarian with a passion for helping individuals, especially those traumatised, to attain their self-actualisation and live a balanced and fulfilled life hence her decision to start a foundation focused on mental health and overcoming traumatic events. In this interview, she speaks with CHIZOBA OGBECHE on why she dumped law practice, her foundation, and upcoming launch of her books and talk show.

What is your Foundation all about? 

At the core, the foundation is focused on mental health, overcoming traumatic events and incident, and basically ‘enhancing the human experience’ which is the tagline and logo of the foundation.

So, anything that can positively affect a human being to help them to attain their self-actualization and live a balanced and fulfilled life. Generally, that is what the foundation hopes to attain, to see how an individual can live a good life with good mental health while interacting with society, interacting with other people and navigate their ways through life.

What inspired you to start the foundation?

I would say it’s my love for humanity. It may sound cliché, but it’s true. I have a deep concern for the human welfare in all sincerity, especially when it comes to the psychological aspect of it. It is one thing to deal with an injury that is physical, that you can see, and it’s quite another to deal with an injury that cannot be seen, like issues that affect our mental health.

So, I see that a lot of people are struggling with mental health challenges that can come in various forms, a lot of times through traumatic incidents, and I just wanted to lend a voice. I care about it and I wanted to assist in a way that I feel that I can. So, that was what informed my decision to start his foundation and also to go ahead with the initiatives that we are currently working on.

Can you throw more light on the initiative?

Largely, it is on enlightenment because I believe that when people know better, a lot of times they can do better. So, it is to sensitize the public and to enlighten the public of these mental health challenges, about how one person’s behaviour or actions can affect another person negatively, to inculcate this sense of empathy, kindness and compassion in individuals because it guides how they interact with other people.

These can reduce the instance of people knowingly or unknowingly inflicting others with injuries to the mind and to the soul which can cause damage to their mental wellbeing.

So, in terms of enlightenment, my talk show Conversations With Alice, which is centered on helping people deal with traumatic incidents and events, will be helping people cultivate meaningful and healthy relationships with one another, and helping people achieve their goals and objectives that is self-actualisation.

Also, as part of the enlightenment programme of the foundation, we are going to be doing community outreach programme where we will go and meet people where they are. It could be villages; it could be in towns. I am not just targeting people that have access to television and social media, we intend to a lot of community outreach programmes, seminars, workshops and conferences, where we are going to bring in experts on metal health issues.

We also intend to invite individuals, groups and associations from all across the society.

Is there a particular group of people your foundation would be targeting?

The foundation is gender neutral. Like I said, I am a humanitarian and I am more concerned about the human being even though in the society there is this disparity in gender with women needing more attention, but the foundation is going to be gender neutral.

Where necessary, like in promoting certain rights of women and girls that are being overlooked, the foundation is going to lend a voice definitely and strongly.

Age bracket wise, there is specific age bracket. But usually, our programmes would be targeted at teenagers from thirteen because that is usually, they become very aware of themselves, their surroundings, environment and their family. And that is when a lot them sometimes are being afflicted by certain negative things like sexual abuse that can go on to affect them in the future. And at that age, some of them may or may not understand what is happening to them.

Also, that is when in my personal opinion, people continue to form their core habits and begin to develop their inner and core selves. So, we intend to really target children from when they are young because their orientation, background and their comprehension of the world matters a lot.

It also informs how they are going to make decisions in the future. So, we intend to target from 13 to 18 years. So, we will have quite a lot of workshops and seminars addressing those groups in schools. And it’s not just schools but everywhere in society because whether a child is in school or not, they deserve an opportunity to be informed about these things, to be enlightened and to know what to look out for.

If they are already engaging in certain patterns and behaviours that can be harmful to them, we can begin to draw their attention to certain dangers they face. We can also begin, to the best of our ability, redirect them towards a more positive and beneficial path.

Whilst we’ll be focusing on everyone, be it gender, ethnicity, what may be, that is the primary audience in terms of our seminars, workshops and other initiatives.

Also, we’re going to have clinics once in a while where we are going to bring in professional mental health workers, so that people that are dealing with mental health issues can come and they can attend to them and at least direct them on the way forward, give them further advice on may to enrol in a therapy programme.

So, we will at least give them that platform to engage with a professional that can then help them cultivate plan. 

Can you talk more about the talk show?

The talk show is the main initiative of the foundation as we speak. It is called Conversations with Alice and like I mentioned earlier, it is going to be dealing with healing from traumatic incidents and events, forming and maintaining meaningful relationships. It is going to address many societal issues and concerns as well and also topics that can affect individuals on a personal level and their inter-personal relationships with other people.

The first episode of the talk show is going to be on television and is going to start airing on Friday, April 26, 2024, on a programme called ‘Genda Agenda’.

You’ve written three books which will be launched soon. What are the books about?

The foundation is going to be officially launched on the May 9, 2024, and we are going to also be launching two of the foundation’s initiatives which are the talk show ‘Conversations with Alice’ that I just mentioned, and then also a series that I wrote.

The series encompasses three books and the first book in the series is called ‘The Purple Banner’, the second is called ‘The Green Land’ and the third is called ‘The Royal Blue Cape’.

Now, the Purple Banner is to help individuals identify their negative emotions induced primarily but not necessarily from traumatic incidents and events. So, it will help people understand and process these negative emotions that an individual can experience.

The Green Land is about healing from traumatic incidents and events or at least learning to cope with it with healthy coping mechanisms. So, it’s about an individual that has probably gone through incidents and guiding them through the healing journey; how they can begin to heal and it usually starts from self-love, accepting what has happened and innermost self-reflection. The Green Land is about an individual beginning to work on themselves, develop themselves and beginning to see their potential and work on these things that can help them live a better life in good mental health and well-being.

Then, the Royal Blue Cape is about an individual that has processed their negative emotions and feelings induced from traumatic incidents and events. They have gone through the rigorous process of self-development to some extent, healing from their traumatic incidents and they have now reached a place where they are doing a bit OK in life.

So, when an individual is at that place where they’ve come from this place of constant sorrow and despair (the Purple Banner), they’ve gone through the Green Land where they have started working on their traumatic incidents healing from it and they are now in a Royal Blue Cape when they are finally embodying their new and renewed qualities. So that is what the series is about and the books are written a poetic form in poems and prose.

Each book has 40 poems with 40 illustrations and each poem has an illustration to also help in comprehending the message of the poem. So that is the general theme of the three books and then the series is called ‘The Atonement of Redemption’. It is going to be launched officially on the 9th of May at the foundation’s launch and it is my hope that it helps someone that is struggling out there to be able to come to terms with their traumatic incidents, events and experiences, and that they find the courage to heal from it and also know that they are deserving of a worthy life and make steps towards achieving this life. This is because, to the best of my understanding, trauma interferes with a person’s life journey.

A lot of times when people have gone through traumatic events, especially from incidents of sexual, physical and emotional abuse, it can reduce or diminish someone’s confidence such that they might not have the confidence to pursue their goals.

So, it is my hope that these books help them to process these negative emotions, begin to heal and have the courage to go after their goals and to live a happier and liberating life. So, when it is launched, I am hoping that that is the effect that it would have on its readers.