Victims of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) can still live a positive life after abuse, says Chedza Idani Makombo, a GBV survivor.
Her initiative, ‘Positive You by Chedza' aims to empower victims to overcome challenges. Her upbringing was filled with challenges after she lost both her parents.
"Growing up, I did not have it easy. I was molested as a girl child. I had to keep quiet because I cared too much. I didn't want to destroy the family by telling them what was happening. Being an introvert at the time, I kept quiet while dying inside," Makombo shared.
Years later, she gained strength and managed to speak out about her ordeal and soon started counselling and motivating people through her initiative 'Positive You by Chedza.'
"After Positive You by Chedza, I gathered strength and confidence and managed to face some people who sexually abused me. I spoke about the hatred, anger, and frustrations they have caused me, then we ironed out things," she tells The Midweek Sun.
Somehow this made her heal, which is why she has become a motivational speaker, to make other people have peace after facing abuse.
"I chose to become a motivational speaker because I was inspired by my life experiences and the experience of others around me and how I overcame challenges from a very young age.
“Everything that happened to me turned out to be life lessons. I must say I developed the interest in motivating others at the age of 19," she says.
She had a lovely upbringing by her biological parents, but everything changed when they both passed away and they had to live with their grandmother.
Later on, she had to live with her aunt who sent her to a boarding school after primary school. "Things got rough by the day, and everyone else thought I was not going to make it at senior school but my hard work paid off," she says.
She has introduced a students’ movement called, 'I Know I can', which is aimed at boosting their confidence, helping them believe in themselves, change for the better and build a positive mindset.
"I have started this movement with SOS Children, Word Crackers Tutorial Tlokweng and Gaborone and Gamodubu Children Trust, as well as Matlala and Tlokweng Junior Secondary Schools," she says.
Her new movement targets young people aged between nine and 18 years old. "At this stage, even when one goes through a tough time, elders just assume that people are young and not bothered by anything without knowing that children also face difficulties and end up bottling a lot of stuff," she says.
She has observed that children want to take part in many events, and competitions, show their talent and follow their dreams but most of them are scared of being judged, as they lack confidence and high self-esteem, and so she wants to curb this through her movement.
"So far, I have observed that they focus more on the negative remarks by society and their peers, and that makes them even more scared and they give up easily," she says.
To regain confidence, she attended mentorship classes and social clubs to learn more about what she loves, and also got tips on public speaking, so that she can change lives through her experiences.