Motherhood is a sacred space that often leaves some feeling overwhelmed and undervalued. Yet, despite the feelings, the art of motherhood is still a treasure and joy for many women. Unfortunately, Black women often navigate their parenting journey with disproportionate setbacks, lack of resources, underemployment and more. Leigh Higginbotham Butler is a mother of three children who found herself at the greatest setback in her life after being unemployed from a six-figure job after the birth of her third son.
Leigh and her husband suddenly found themselves unable to provide for their family. They had to quickly rely on community assistance such as food pantries. During this period, Leigh birthed the concept of “Akina” which means “strong family bond” in Swahili. She turned her obstacles into an online community of support for Black Mothers globally. The Akina app launched on Apple and Google in November 2021 & is still growing strong today. “Building bonds with our children while also building bonds within our community is the cornerstone of our company,” says Leigh Higginbotham Butler.
“There is a myriad of nonprofits that are supporting black women and mothers that have been doing the work for years,” she continues. “I believed the best way to support these organizations was to create a hub of information and resources that also allows users to learn from one another. The best way I could see to accomplish this was through an app,” Leigh expresses. Leigh has a strong background in communications, yet it was not her intention when building the Akina app.
“My faith and my passion for my family and community are what prepared me most for this journey. I answered the call God put in my heart to do this,” Leigh explains. “Looking for resources and information specific to my identity as a Black woman living in America and having a tough time finding it, were the catalyst for this app. I had a deep desire to connect with other Black moms in a safe and nurturing environment to learn from the experiences of my sisters,” she adds.
The all-in-one social experience features several interactive elements via live streams, chat rooms, educational content, resources and more. All users can enter a safe gathering space and feel confident that their “village” will have them covered. “Motherhood is a challenging and rewarding experience. My app will impact those challenges through my community; and the lives of Black moms and children,” says Leigh Higginbotham Butler. “A strong family bond will produce the best possible outcomes for the next generation and for generations to come,” she encourages. Connect with Leigh for more information or join the community by visiting www.MeetAkina.com or follow @MeetAkina on social media.
Photos courtesy of Leigh Higginbotham Butler of Akina App
Writer, C. Scott, is a mompreneur, social worker, educator and lover of all things literature-related. Follow her as @curls_coils.