Empowerment is a process which enables us to fully access our internal power to overcome our external circumstances. It is a complex and multifaceted concept that can best be described by the following list of empowerment principles:
• Having decision-making power.
• Having a range of options from which to make choices.
• The ability to be assertive.
• A feeling that you can make a difference (being hopeful).
• Learning to speak in our own voice without fear
• Learning to re-imagine what is possible
• Understanding how our conditioning has limited our potential
• Learning about and expressing anger.
• Not feeling alone; feeling part of a group.
• Understanding that people have rights.
• Effecting change in one’s life and one’s community.
• Learning skills (e.g., communication) that the individual defines as important.
• Accepting and loving yourself as you are.
• Growth and change that is never ending and self-initiated.
• Increasing one’s positive self-image and overcoming stigma.
In the Empowerment groups, we teach that empowered individuals have the ability to consider a range of options, make informed decisions about their personal situation, and possess the positive thinking necessary to create change measurable and sustained change in their lives.