Successful entrepreneur gives back to domestic violence survivors
Andrea Blackstone | 10/27/2017, 6 a.m.
Domestic Violence Awareness Month is an ideal time to raise awareness about domestic violence but Owings Mills, Maryland resident, Cindy Tawiah is committed to helping women and young girls who have been touched by this issue anytime of year.
Tawiah, who originally hails from Ghana, West Africa, is the founder of the Diva By Cindy hair care line, which consists of 13 items ranging from popular Super Gro Hair Dress to a leave-in hair detangler. Tawiah’s alcohol-free products can also be used by women who have suffered from alopecia; hair loss due to blood pressure medication; thyroid issues; and chemotherapy cancer treatment.
The former Registered Nurse who once worked at Bon Secours Hospital in Baltimore determined that nursing was not her passion. However, she discovered that running a business, inspiring and empowering women is her calling.
Tawiah ultimately became a beauty salon owner and is the author of “Metamorphosis: Finding Your Passion, Finding Your Purpose, Finding U,” in which she chronicled her own journey from passion to purpose, and overcoming abuse, while making a difference in the lives of domestic violence victims through the Diva Project.
“In 2005, we began bringing in homeless women and victims of domestic violence for days of beauty and healing where they get full service (hair, nails, make up) and motivational presentations, and [they participate in a] a balloon release to let go of their pain and trauma and release hopes and dreams,” Tawiah said. “We call the shelters and offer the services to their ladies. Sunshine Promise is a 501(c)(3) that is our nonprofit for the Diva Project.”
A percentage of the proceeds from items sold from Tawiah’s product line enables her to offer free beauty days, which has even includes dresses.
The successful entrepreneur has been selling Diva By Cindy products at a kiosk in BWI (Baltimore-Washington International Airport) since July of 2017.
“I am ecstatic about our partnership at BWI. It allows us to connect with people and touch more lives,” Tawiah said, while explaining the meaning of the Diva acronym. “Diva (by Cindy) is for a woman who wants beauty excellence and elegance. It's Divine, Inspired, Virtuous, and Anointed. It's every woman's journey when she overcomes adversity.”
The impact of Tawiah’s work is recognizable by the metamorphosis of domestic violence survivors like Flora Carter. She met Tawiah in 2006 when she participated in the self-esteem building Diva Project. Carter was staying with her daughter, after enduring her own domestic violence experience in Prince George’s County. Her goal was getting out of her situation alive and reaching out to obtain help made a positive difference in her life. Carter also mentioned that domestic violence entails tearing someone down and Tawiah is committed to building women back up.
“She (Tawiah) is encouraging because a lot of women and men don’t see people who’ve made it through and won’t get the help that they need, so she is a great encourager, but the main thing is to realize that you are a human being, said Carter. “You do need to be treated nice. You can have your nails done. You can be a diva. It makes a positive difference because you’ve lost faith in yourself. You’ve lost faith in everything, when somebody just really tries to strip you, and Cindy helped build the mind, the body as well as the soul. ”
Carter, who is now divorced and doing well, encourages other women to speak up about domestic violence. She says that many women who experience domestic violence don’t receive any medical help from trained domestic violence advocates, within the first 24 hours of experiencing it. They often leave home without the basic necessities, such as grooming supplies and clothing. Carter expressed gratitude for Tawiah’s willingness to talk to domestic violence survivors, while letting them know that she achieved success. She reminds them that the unfortunate experience was not their fault.
“That was the main thing that really got us over— realizing that we cannot be responsible for another person’s actions,” Carter said. “By her (Tawiah) giving a contribution through [the sale of] her products for domestic violence, that helps somebody else have a night in the shelter, or some food, or some of the stuff that they need to survive.”
To learn more about the Diva Project, Tawiah and her endeavors, visit: www.thedivaproject.org and www.divabycindy.com.