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A birthday for others

IT’S NOT often that a church leader spends her birthday pampering and feeding homeless and vulnerable women, but this is what Pastor Marjorie Esomowei did at her church in Tottenham, north London last week.

This co-pastor of Triumphant Church International and founder of the Wise Women Awards explained: “Since I turned 50, I usually do some kind of give back thank you thing for my birthday but I normally do so in Ghana or Nigeria. This year I felt inspired to share my birthday with women in London.”

Appeals to support this initiative were posted on social media by myself, Paula Powell of Sphere Hospitality and Pastor Marjorie and people responded in their droves by donating toiletries, clothes, their skills and time.

CELEBRATION: Those attending are all smiles with Pastor Marjorie as she cuts her birthday cake

Pastor Marjorie said: “People just gave and gave and gave. I’m grateful to everyone who [has] given.” Invitations were sent to homeless shelters and hostels inviting people to attend.

About 40 women of all races and ages, some with children, attended the celebration, and volunteers across London pampered the women who enjoyed facials, manicures, massages, hair styling and makeovers, were given clothes and left with a bag of toiletries.

GLAM SQUAD: Keisha Greaves gives one woman a makeover

Sam Bartilo, a charity worker who works with vulnerable women, brought a client. She said: “It’s a lovely atmosphere. There needs to be more things like this. It’s nice for the community and my client loves it. She’s getting her nails done. I would give it 10 out of 10.”

Zereena Afflick, a mother of four and cakemaker, spent the day giving free manicures. She saw a post about the event on Facebook and decided to volunteer. She said: “The day has been amazing. It’s been really nice to see everyone come together for a really good cause and to share their talents and their gifts with others to bless them.”

Hairdresser and make-up artist Keisha Greaves provided makeovers. She said: “I’ve always had a passion for women and I know how much simple make-up can change the way a woman thinks about herself. I thought, ‘What an opportunity,’ and, ‘Why not do it?’. They were as excited as I was.”

After the pampering the women enjoy dinner, a word of encouragement from speaker Karen Allen and a song from worship leader Remi Ogunshakin. Shana Lewis hosted the day.

MAKEOVER:79-year-old Batti thoroughly enjoyed the event

Batti, a 79-year-old, heard about the event at a luncheon she attends. She got her hair styled, a make-over and dinner. She thoroughly enjoyed herself and said that she would come again.

Lydia, a young mother, attended the event with friends. She was given a prize at the dinner and told the audience: “We haven’t had nothing like this for a long time. Who knew through a group of people you could get this kind of treatment for free that you’d usually have to pay hundreds just to feel good. It’s been a great encouragement and blessing.”

And Pastor Marjorie thoroughly enjoyed her birthday. “It was awesome,” she said.

“The day was very relaxed, well-planned [and] the women knew what they wanted. You could see the transformation that happened. I think the women were pleased and if they were pleased, I am.”

She says she plans to do something similar next year.

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