Our History

“From every wound there is a scar, and every scar tells a story. A story that says, I survived.”

Fr. Craig Scott

The Women of Substance is a registered Non-Profit Organization that provides support to persons affected by domestic violence and abuse and facilitates education and awareness programs/events for the targeted and the general population on domestic violence.

Onika Mars, Founder of Women of Substance is a survivor of domestic violence and abuse and a believer who has allowed God to turn her mess into a message.  Ms. Mars was in an abusive relationship for thirteen (13) years and found the courage and strength with God’s help to leave the relationship in November 2008 with her two (2) sons, aged four (4) and five (5) at the time when her life was threatened and she felt she endured enough of the physical, sexual, emotional and verbal abuse.  She said “Yes” when God called her into this specific ministry to provide support to persons affected by the very thing that caused her pain.

“Sit and Chat” with Onika Mars support group began in October 2016 with fifteen (15) women and is active to date with more women attending every meeting. Women of Substance was birthed on March 24th, 2017 from the support group and has grown extensively providing Domestic Violence Workshops and awareness programs, Counselling, Boys Symposiums at Secondary Schools, and Temporary shelter for women and their children. Ms. Mars firmly believes that God kept her alive so that her life purpose can be fulfilled, as a result, she is now walking in her calling and fulfilling her God-given purpose. 

Women of Substance has collaborated with many entities and organizations in Trinidad and Tobago namely, U.S Embassy POS, the Tobago Regional Health Authority, Division of Health Wellness and Family Development, Citizen Security Program, MIC Institute of Technology, Roxborough Seventh Day Adventist Church, Tobago House of Assembly OJT Unit, Tobago House of Assembly Information Department, Roxborough Secondary School, Signal Hill Secondary School, Pentecostal Light and Life Secondary School, Scarborough Secondary School, Tobago Channel 5, Greater Malabar Christian Centre and Kingdom People International Church in Trinidad just to name a few.

Women of Substance also facilitates a Boys Symposium themed “Strengthening our Boys” – Strong Boys=Stronger Men which were held at five (5) Secondary Schools in Tobago thus far. The Signal Hill Secondary School, the Roxborough Secondary School, the Pentecostal Light and Life High School and the Scarborough Secondary School. It is our goal to host the Boys Symposium in Primary and Secondary Schools throughout Tobago.

Women of Substance Organization hosted its first Domestic Violence Seminar at the Scarborough Library Auditorium on May 4th 2018 which was facilitated by Ms. Thecia Jenkins Owner/CEO of BOLD Professional Seminars & Consulting Southeast Harris County Texas.

Ms. Jenkins a Domestic Violence Advocate, Certified Speaker, Trainer, Emotional Intelligence Practitioner, Mediator, and Life Coach Practitioner, provides training for law enforcement, victim advocates, healthcare providers, Universities, and Educators across the United States of America and Africa. Attendees to this Seminar included staff form several Divisions throughout THA, representatives from the United States Embassy – Port of Spain, representatives from the Gender Affairs Unit – Office of the Prime Minister Trinidad, Police Officers, Prison Officers, Coast Guard Officers, Soldiers, representatives from NGO’s based in Tobago, victims and survivors of domestic violence and abuse and other members of the general public.

On October 14th, 2018 in observance of Domestic Violence Month, Women of Substance hosted a panel discussion themed “The Dynamics of Domestic Violence and Abuse” where members of the public and school children were invited to attend so they can be part of the discussions.

On December 3rd, 4th, 6th, and 7th 2019, Women of Substance in collaboration with the US Embassy Port of Spain hosted a successful Conference on Violence against Women and Girls and a Capacity Building Workshop for NGOs and CSOs both in Trinidad and Tobago.

Women of Substance’s most recent project was our Boys Symposium which was held at the Scarborough Secondary School Tobago on March 2nd and 3rd 2020. Our all-male panel held discussions with the young men of Forms 3 and 4 and raised the much-needed awareness about domestic violence and abuse, managing emotions and healthy relationships.