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Persauds launch foundation to help women build self-esteem

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Canadian Lisa Persaud and her son, Liam. Ms Persaud has started a foundation to help single parents and women who have suffered from domestic violence in Bermuda (Photograph by Jennifer Conley Images)

Lisa Persaud has her sights set on helping women in Bermuda who are stuck. She named the Liam Carter Persaud Foundation after her son. Its aim is to help survivors of domestic violence and single parents.

Q: What is the LCP Foundation?

A: The LCP foundation is named after my son Liam Carter Persaud. Its purpose is to not just provide assistance to survivors of domestic violence and single parents but also provide them with resources and opportunity, specifically in the entertainment business. Our ideology is if you give a wo/man a fish, you feed him/her for a day; if you teach a wo/man to fish, you feed him/her for a lifetime.

Q: What motivated you to start the foundation?

A: Throughout the pandemic, like many others, I endured challenges in my professional and personal life. I am nationally recognised in my industry and planned on starting a webinar course for aspiring publicists and journalists. I wanted to share the educational wealth that I did not obtain at university but in the real world. This halted when I was undergoing my own personal issues, specifically a violent and toxic relationship which resulted in physical and psychological abuse over an extended period. These circumstances caused my sudden halt of momentum and productivity and led me to reflect on what really mattered in that moment.

Q: How did you break free from your abuser? How long had you been in that situation?

A: It was difficult because it was one thing after another – the fractures, break-ins, assaults, the threats …

Q: Where did you get your strength from?

A: Certainly my son but also remembering who I was – a self-made, self-sufficient woman with a thriving career with young women looking up to me. I couldn’t let my son, myself or them down. My career was my escape. It was my distraction, it provided me with financial freedom and resources. This is why I created LCP; I want to give women this same self-sufficiency and freedom.

Canadian Lisa Persaud and her son, Liam. Ms Persaud has started a foundation to help single parents and women who have suffered from domestic violence in Bermuda (Photograph by Jennifer Conley Images)

Q: What do you think keeps people stuck in violent relationships?

A: I find many people land in these situations for many reasons: they are dependent on their partner and, over time, they lose their confidence; they fall for the manipulation and feel maybe they deserve this treatment. Many like myself feel ashamed so they don’t want to speak on it but I think it is important because doing that takes away [the abuser’s] power. Speaking on it and getting help does not make you a victim, it makes you a survivor.

Q: Now that you are out of your own situation, why do you bother to help?

A: I want to leave this world knowing I made an impact. I’ve been instrumental in the success of many artists’ careers and gained much success as a publicist, but now I want my son to see I spoke up, stood up for myself and helped others. I want to be a motivation to women who are going through this. If my story can inspire and save just one life, then my purpose has been fulfilled.

Q: Why Bermuda?

A: Bermuda has always been a second home to me, with some of the most beautiful people, scenery and memories. I have friends who’ve become family. I received so many supportive messages from women who were in similar situations and gained strength and inspiration from my story. I hope this foundation encourages women to take back their power and know they are not alone.

Q: Do you think there is still a stigma attached to being a single mom?

A: Of course. People assume you were left, that you are hostile and bitter; that the child is in a “broken home” which can only result in behavioural issues etc which, in my case and in many others, is not true. A peaceful home filled with love is not a broken one.

Q: Is the LCP Foundation your first charitable work?

A: No. Years ago I worked with APPLE which was an alternative school for high school students. I used to co-ordinate celebrity meet and greets with my partner Segan. We would have artists come and do motivational discussions with the students, sharing their similar challenges in life and how they got to their level of success. Since then I've worked with many celebrities and the NFL on community outreach, charitable events and donations.

Q: You named the foundation after your son, Liam Carter Persaud. Why?

A: I’ve had mixed feelings about whether I would tell my son about my personal journey. I want him to see his mother as a strong but happy woman [and wondered if by sharing] I would appear weak. I decided if I want him to be honest with me, I need to be honest with him. Instead of me telling him a story, I want him to grow up seeing how behaviours can hurt people, to be motivated by people’s testimonies. It is a cruel world with some bad people but we can be part of that change. Liam has many great role models but I feel it is so important to teach him to not only aspire for success but to aspire to be a humanitarian. I truly hope my son inherits this same ideology.

Q: How do you intend for the LCP Foundation to work here?

A: There are a few advocacy groups on the island that I do hope to resurrect. The pandemic hit a lot of these organisations hard financially, so I am hoping we can help with that. Also I will be offering exclusive mentorship programmes which will be one-on-one or with other industry professionals. We are in the midst of creating a curriculum and applications will be available this spring. All courses and participant details will be held with discretion.

• For more information on the Liam Carter Persaud Foundation e-mail info@lcpfoundation.com; info@lisapersaud.com