Representatives from Savera UK Youth were invited to speak at the National FGM Centre conference in Stoke-on-Trent on 12th March 2020. The event was called One Year On: Bringing about Change in Response to FGM in Stafford and was chaired by Sue Arnold, Deputy Staffordshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner. The event reviewed the partnership between the National FGM Centre and the PCC and celebrated the successes of the services, as well as discussing the lessons learned.
Speakers at the event included midwives, paediatricians, community workers and the police who all shared their response to female genital mutilation in their professions. One of the highlights of the event was a presentation by FGM survivor Sarian Karim Kamara. Hearing from survivors always puts into perspective why more must be done to eradicate the practice. Speaking about her experience, Sarian said: “The night before, it was a big celebration. On the day, I was blindfolded, thrown on the floor, a woman sat on me and I felt a sharp cut between my legs. I didn’t even know what they were cutting—I just knew it was painful.” Sarian’s powerful story brought home the effects of the practice and made clear that although every survivor’s story is different, it is vital to speak out.
Savera UK Youth representative, Malcolm Thwala, concluded the event. As well as reading his hard-hitting poem Who Are You?, he also spoke very honestly about how his own mother taught him to speak out about what was right. Malcolm talked about the importance of young people breaking the silence on these issues amongst their peers, in order to raise awareness and end the practice for good.
Malcolm said about the event: “It was important for me as a young person to be there to learn and share how we are looking to make a change. I was inspired by hearing moving stories where women’s freedom has been taken away and they have had to risk their lives. Change has to happen for a better future.”
Watch Malcolm read his poem.
Savera UK Youth would like to thank the National FGM Centre for giving them a platform to speak out against harmful practices.
If you would like to get involved in Savera UK Youth to also #speakout about female genital mutilation and other harmful practices, to find out more and apply.