Category Archives: UK

HUFFPOST | After the Girl Summit: How Can We Hold the Attention of 900 Million People?

Originally published on the Huffington Post Blog on 11 August 2014.

Have you ever been quizzed on a difficult topic by a complete stranger? Last week, on my journey home from Girl Summit, a young guy serving coffee on the train said, “I’ve heard a lot about that event you’ve been at and can see how important it is, but here’s the thing … I still don’t really know what FGM is.” He listened intently as I explained that 10,000 girls under the age of 15 in the UK are survivors of female genital cutting. He questioned why a woman who had been cut would let her own daughter suffer the same fate and so we talked about societal pressures on women and girls. This small exchange was the cherry on top of a motivating few days at the world’s first girls’ rights summit in London. However, it also indicates that the majority of people are still unaware of how widespread harmful traditional practices are, or what they can do to help end practices like FGM and child marriage.IMG_2212 Without more advocacy, awareness raising and engaging youth in the fight we cannot make the world a safer place for women and girls.

On 22 July at the Girl Summit several hundred million pounds were committed to tackling female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage and a staggering 900 million people have pledged their support online. The challenge now is to maintain the momentum and keep the global focus on ending FGM and child marriage. Here’s how…

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GIRLS GLOBE | Meet the Girls Ending FGM

Originally posted on Girls’ Globe:

Girls are perfect, just as they are.

Yet over 125 million girls and women bear scars that suggest the contrary. Every minute five girls are held down and subjected to excruciating pain. Female genital mutilation (FGM), also known as female genital cutting (FGC), is the harmful practice of partially or totally removing a girl’s genitals. Girls who are cut face emotional trauma and long lasting health complications. It is a strange paradox that many celebrate ‘cutting season’ with big parties and lavish gifts. FGM is the norm for a large majority of the developing world.

Thanks to a new wave of media attention and two daring young women, I now understand more about FGM. This understanding began with Leyla Hussein’s BAFTA nominated film The Cruel Cut. From impassioned women’s rights activist and mother Leyla, I learned that FGM is happening right on my doorstep.

Read the rest of the story here…

My favourite poem by W. B. Yeats

High School English, circa 2000s.

He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

W. B. Yeats

(Published in his 3rd volume of poetry, The Wind Among the Reeds, 1899.)