Source: Eastern Institute of Technology – Tairāwhiti
3 mins ago
Completing a Certificate in Small Business at EIT, through eCampus NZ, has been the key to Melissa Marie establishing a business aimed at helping women overcome adversity after abusive relationships and create a life they love.
Melissa, 43, who was born in Rotorua but lived in Australia for 33 years, has made it her mission to use her own experiences to help women by creating the resources she wishes she had in the past.
She says it was the offer from an old friend for her to come stay for as long as she wanted that led her to move to Hawke’s Bay nearly four years ago.
“She said she had a bed and a room available for however long I needed it, so she was my refuge basically. I found having the right support at that crucial moment of leaving can make the difference between going back or moving on.”
Shortly after the first Covid-19 lockdown in 2020, Melissa decided to enrol in the New Zealand Certificate in Business [Small Business] [Level 4] at EIT, through eCampus NZ, to learn more about New Zealand’s business environment.
eCampus NZ partners with EIT, and other Te Pūkenga subsidiaries, to deliver certificate and diploma qualifications online.
Melissa says she found the experience to be positive.
“I had a holistic business in Australia, but things are conducted differently over here. I wanted to study to better understand what running a small business in New Zealand involves – including taxes,” she said.
“I think education is very important. I’m always learning something and EIT made it very flexible through eCampus NZ.”
“The support that we got through the tutors, and the feedback and things like that was very constructive. The follow-ups and the help overall was good.”
Melissa says studying was the key to unlocking her passion.
“It completely changed my direction in business. It went from a women’s holistic healing business to drawing on my own experience of how I basically came from ground zero, completely lost myself, to then be able to build myself back up to move forward in life.”
“I then was able to put all my studies and experience together to help other women going through the same thing.”
Her business: Lotus Becoming, was named after the flower as it blooms from the depths of darkness.
“The name felt right, because the course is about helping women transform their lives, rediscover who they are, and live a life they love.”
Since last year, Melissa has been providing a seven-week programme at the Heretaunga Women’s Centre.
It aims to bring balance to mind, body, and soul by incorporating self-love and self-discovery exercises, holistic counselling tools, mindfulness, re-programming limiting beliefs, goal setting and so much more.
“It gives women the tools they need to heal and keep moving forward,” Melissa says.
“They learn that any trauma or anything that you’ve been through doesn’t define who you are. It’s a part of your journey, and the best thing to do is take the lesson from that and use that to empower yourself to move forward.”
The response, she says, has been amazing.
“I’ve had women find out who they are again and get that spark and passion back. They’ve been able to get themselves jobs again and get themselves into their own homes again. Others have awakened their passion for the businesses they had.”
It’s not just for women who have been in abusive relationships who use the programme, but mothers and women of all backgrounds.
Ultimately, her goal is to get some land, and build a number of fully self-contained units for women who need to leave an abusive relationship. To have the support they need in a safe space.
“I know housing is in very short supply for women that are ready to get out, they just don’t know how or where to go. With help from the likes of the Heretaunga Women’s Centre, the Women’s Refuge and others, I want to be able to provide that housing and the stability. I want it to be the difference they need to lift themselves up and move forward onto a better life.”