Shattering the silence: How the Girl Get Up movement is changing lives Michele Gombedza

Flora Fadzai Sibanda, [email protected]

AT 28 years old, Michele Gombedza recognised the challenges of growing up without a peer to confide in for stress relief.
To address this gap, last month she started the Girl Get Up Movement, a women’s empowerment programme aimed at young women and teenagers.

The initiative provides a space in which women can share strategies and insights to navigate daily difficulties.

It has received requests to expand to other cities and Michele hopes to collaborate with other organisations offering psychological, mental and social support to women.

Some of the women who attended the girl get up movement


“I remember there was a time when I was in a dark place and I had no one to confide in. It became so bad to an extent that I lost weight and was thinking of taking my own life. When I looked at my own situation, I realised there are so many other young people who are going through the same thing and they have no one to turn to, that’s why I decided to start this movement so that it could be a safe space for such women,” said Michele.

The project’s first session focused on learning to manage pain from past experiences, conducted with the help of a therapist.

“Most women are hurting because of past events that is why we decided to start with a letting go session. Because of these past events we are holding on to, our mental health and social lives end up being affected.

“During the session, girls wrote down all hurtful things they now want to let go on a glass plate, so they could move on with life.

As a sign of breaking from those, we all smashed the plates. The next session is going to be the ‘Sis Are You Ok’ movement. It’s going to be like a follow up to what we did just to talk about how the girls are doing after the letting go session,” she said.

“My greatest drive is to help other women and our hope for the future is inviting organisations which are also into psychological, mental and social support such as Friendship Bench, Zwala and Musasa, who deal with women protection. Some cases that come up in our sessions need strong psychological counselling, support and legal representation. Once we have those partnerships. We can be able to direct those cases to those organisations and work hand-in-hand with them,” said Michele. — @flora_sibanda

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