Open Arms started in 1st of January 2015 as a project of Isiaiah 54.
Since the start of Open Arms hundreds of mommies and mommies to be have approached me either via facebook, WhatsApp or Email.
Open arms is a online crisis pregnancy centre that offers, counseling, emotional support and understanding
The benefits of being a online centre is that it is easily accessible, to all mommies and mommies2be, that are in need of someone to talking to. It overcomes barriers that may hold them back from seeking help, for example, people in the community may question why they are going to a such a centre, or if they live in a rural or remote area where there is no such services offered such as this. Also people with hearing problems can benefit from Open Arms.
And it has also shown to be effective and in encouraging for teenagers as they seem to be more comfortable with using the social media.
It is also for the mommies and mommies2be very convenient as well as myself as we can communicate with each other at anytime of the day. This way of offering support takes away the hassle of scheduling and setting appointments. I am also not restricted to times, like traditional centres which gives me the opportunity to offer my serves 24/7 and I am able to reach out to the whole of South Africa.
It also helps those who may be uncomfortable with talking face to face about their problems.
Offering online serveses, is not only easily accessible but also very affordable as I do not charge a fee, rent a space as well as the mommies do not have to pay taxi fees. As long as we both have so data we are able to communicate. If I am able to I will help the mommy or mommy2be with some extra data.
Also am I able to effectively eliminate the social stigma associated with receiving "therapy/counseling" . They can contact me in their own time, privately without having to visit a traditional centre. It allows the mommy or mommy2be feel less stigmatised without having to be seen by others; friend, family, staff or anyone that the mommy or mommy2be would see on her way to the centre, entering the centre and leaving the centre.
Because of the online service they might seek assistance when they might otherwise have hesitated.
Because I do not have face to face contact, it helps mommies and mommies2be to be more open without concerns of race, gender, age, size or how they look. Social Media clearly offers a level of anonymity that is felt as non-threatening which allows them to open up easier.
My communication is in written form, I communicate via facebook, WhatsApp and Email, which allows the mommies and mommies2be to pay close attention to our communication and reflect on our thoughts and feelings prior to it being expressed. This helps when mommies or mommies2be's experience difficulty expressing themselves as they have the time to respond as well can re-write their story or reply until they happy with what they have written.
Research also suggest that writing during difficult times helps for emotional healing.
Welcome to Open Arms :)