Within minutes of meeting at a Christchurch café, two graduates of CMM’s recent Woman Wise course are catching up on news and swapping stories. They touch on everything from family matters, travel, and a baby that’s on the way.

Yet just a couple of months ago, neither Sarie Montag nor Alana Tully knew each other. Today, they count each other as solid friends.

It was a Woman Wise course that brought them together: a free six-week course that helps women look ahead and develop the self-confidence to be all they can be. The two-hour sessions cover feelings, relationships and future direction. By becoming aware of what they are thinking and feeling, women can change negative thoughts and learn to live life with greater confidence and self-belief.

The effect of Woman Wise in the lives of Sarie and Alana is clear. By sharing experiences and stories, the women have formed a close-knit relationship and can share pent-up emotions, cope in tricky situations and have learned to think positively.

Sarie arrived in Christchurch from South Africa a year ago with her partner and step-son. However, the normally outgoing hair stylist found herself uncomfortable and unable to fit in. Since taking the course, she’s feeling happier and looking forward to giving birth in December.

“I went to the course to build confidence again and meet people because I’m alone day in and day out. I learnt about circles of control. There are only some things you can control and other things you can’t, such as other people’s feelings and actions.”

Alana has found family issues easier to manage since taking the course. A change in attitude has kick-started her to meet new people and get on the right track. “I know I can prevent self-doubt. I am in a different place to where I was 10 weeks ago.”

Annie Smith, who facilitated the course, says some of the key ideas were learning to distinguish events that are within a person’s control from those that are not, gratitude, learning how we think, feel and behave, and building confidence.

If you’d like to sponsor a Woman Wise course or have us run one for your organisation, please contact Rowena Dawson at rowenad@mmsi.org.nz

Sarie recommends all women consider taking the course. “Even if you feel life is peachy, I still think you can learn from it. No-one’s life is perfect and your self-confidence will only grow.”

Alana Tully and Sarie Montag Women Wise graduates

Alana Tully and Sarie Montag have become friends as a result of a CMM Woman Wise course