“Together we can achieve anything”
Get Up Woman is a social initiative
Started by Gigi White in March 2016 when she closed her hairdressing salon and started Get Up Woman. She chose the name as she wanted it to be almost a command to women to get up and do something. “Because we can. We have to. We have children and the future relying on us.”
Get Up Woman is remarkable. They interview and assess the needs of women asking for assistance, co-ordinate courses and functions at the centre, organise tactical teams, counsellors, donors and instructors, collect and co-ordinate collections of donations, make sure all donations are accounted for and not misused. They also assist in the distribution of foodstuffs and household products for the families being helped. They attempt to be present at every court case where victims and their families need support, or where a presence outside will draw attention to bail applications or parole hearings of perpetrators.
They represent women of abuse on radio station interviews, support and help parents of children being interviewed by the press after cases of assault to get the story across succinctly and with facts given that won’t compromise the court case, petition for the right of South Africans to be able to access the sexual offenders’ role so citizens are aware of convicted predators who live and work near children and, Gigi has won numerous awards for being a stand-up woman for the rights of others.
Some statistics given by Get Up Woman:
One out of five South African women is in an abusive relationship.
Every eight hours a woman is killed by her current or former partner.
IPV (Intimate Partner Violence) is the most common form of violence
Every four seconds a woman is raped in South Africa.
18% of women experience intimate partner rape on one or more occasions.
Since its inception, the group has branched into various pillars to serve women better. These are all socially networked through Get Up Woman Recruit, House, and Business.
This includes, but is not limited to:
- On the Facebook group, women are assisted daily with their rights to open cases, get protection orders, receive maintenance, and empower them on their rights as far as the law is concerned.
- They have partnered with ‘My Personal Life Line’ to offer women immediate legal, medical and trauma assistance in the case of crime or abuse related issues.
- They offer a conclusive long-term plan for women who need to get out of abusive relationships and assist in the implementation of self-sufficiency.
- In rare cases, and with the assistance of a tactical team, Gigi and select members will investigate the safety of, and then go in and perform, an ‘extraction’ of a woman (and possibly child/ren) from a situation of extreme and life-threatening danger at home.
- Assisting them to know their rights in the workplace.
- Educate women on job-placement skills – such as how to write a CV, interview skills, etc.
Commitment to transforming lives at the
Get Up Woman is determined to transform the lives of women and their children. They run various workshops at their Upliftment Centre (an amazing space rented a year ago to house the NPO, which includes a Rape Crisis Centre) to assist women and children be stronger, more confident, more independent and better able to tackle the daily struggles of life in South Africa. Many of the women have come from backgrounds of sexual, physical and emotional abuse. There are cases of extreme poverty, temporary support required to get back on their feet and gain the skills development needed.
Get Up Woman attempts to help children too, through:
- Feeding scheme – at the centre and between 20 and 28 families are fed per
- (Self-defence classes are run every Saturday by tactical specialists – including rape prevention, anti-bullying and anti-kidnapping courses.
- Registered home-schooling is offered as a temporary (and sometimes more permanent) service for children whose mother is struggling to school them.
- Stationery drives are run yearly to assist indigent children of women in the group and community to receive stationery at the start of the school year. Last year 120 children had their stationery needs for school met.
- School shoes and clothing is a huge expense at the beginning of the year and through the group, donations are asked for, collected and distributed to needy women and children on the group.
- Christmas drive – last year 540 children were given wish lists of gifts they wanted, the presents were sourced from donations (financial or gift bought) within the group, the gifts were wrapped, labelled and handed out to each child, many of whom wouldn’t have received a present otherwise.
- Teenage courses on rape prevention and self-worth are presented. Counselling is provided for pregnant teenagers through their decision on whether to abort/keep/put the baby up for adoption. Last year Get Up Woman prevented the abortion of six babies through their counselling.
- As far as possible, help is provided with the payment of school fees (or getting exemption from having to pay fees) and registration fees (a non-negotiable fee in most South African schools with a yearly rate of around R400).
- Assistance is given to women struggling to get the government grant for their children/grandchildren through the social welfare system (very difficult process for more illiterate members).
- New mom assistance is provided by donation.
Connect with us on Facebook to see more of our activities with in the Upliftment Centre
Other initiatives within the group:
- Start up packs of kitchenware and household goods for ladies who need to start over again.
- In extreme cases, money is raised to help cover rent and deposit for ladies trying to start over
As Get Up Women’s passion to empower women continues, courses are now being offered, free of charge, for two weeks at a time. 15 women from various shelters, homes and missionaries attend courses where they are encouraged to find their passions, improve their skills, share their stories, find their voices (often after years of abuse), collect clothing and provisions to start their journeys towards self-sufficiency and get the support of each other and people who believe in them.
These courses are invaluable and include topics such as:
- Budgeting – Ghillian & Nigel Whillmot, Momentum 0825671522
- Recruitment – Desire Rowe 0828000095
- Body Language Science – Tania Steyn 0845171933
- Crafting – Laurette Ramage, Catching Dreams 0605706249
- Yoga – Marlene Evans and Lianne Mitchley 0824588354
- Self Defense – Taurian Risk Management, Sean Mulder 0739986366
- Basic Computers – Fleur Arendse 0813726784
- Personal Development – Gigi White 0728232785
- Sales and Service – Lyn Sara 0815541415
- Jung Shim – Grant Morrisen 0711885964
After that time, “their resilience allows them to get back onto their feet, get their lives in order and become better mothers, providers and citizens than before”. Many women that GUW has assisted in the past two years have now started actively donating to those struggling in a pay-it-forward kind-of-way, have started their own little business ventures through the courses they attended and skills learned at the centre; and have become valuable and productive citizens again.
Some testimonies by women who have attended the courses
“I was empowered by this course; my skills have been sharpened and my self-confidence has increased.”
– Vera King
“Staying down is not an option, we have received the necessary knowledge here to become the best we can.”
– Naomi Campbell
“I’ve learnt what’s really important in life, how to interact better with others and how to better myself. Being with Get Up Woman has grown me into the kind of woman I want to be. “
– Janine Campbell
“I’d like to thank everyone for opening this opportunity to give us a chance”
– Cynthia Sibongile
The current needs for Get Up Woman are mainly for the Centre as we are working on getting the courses in Jhb running smooth so that we can duplicate these courses across Gauteng. The benefit of these courses show within the first three days. Ladies start beaming with confidence. Courses are designed to stimulate women emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually over a 2 week period. It is evident that what is needed most between women affected by abuse and poverty is education, self-love and self-worth.
We accommodate up to 15 ladies per course. Each course costs approximately R10 000.00. This covers lunch, stationery, craft supplies and transport for the ladies over a two week period, of which, we run two per month.
The centres rent each month is R9500.00. It is a 400sqm office block that allows us to run courses simultaneously without interruption.
We are currently doing basic and advanced computer courses, we are in dire need of more laptops, The Centre currently has four Connex laptops. These are entry level and perfect for teaching. These laptops cost R2999.00 each. We would love to eventually have enough so each of the 15 ladies attending can work on their own.
Our constant needs for our ladies also includes women’s clothing, shoes, accessories, make-up and underwear. On the completion of the two week course, the ladies get a social day where they get to spoil themselves with all of the above.
We are also always looking for bursaries, learnerships and short courses for the ladies who show passion and interest in various fields.
We believe that giving a lady a fishing rod will allow her to feed herself, however, allowing her a spot at the pond, will allow her to feed a village.
+27 72 823 2785
M-F: 7am – 5pm
S-S: 8am – 5pm