My name is Selma Bayou and I am the FGM Arabic speaking Advisor at IKWRO. We provide free and confidential support, advice, advocacy and outreach to women, girls of Middle Eastern origin, in particular Farsi, Kurdish, Arabic, Turkish, Dari, Pashto and English speaking women and girls who are facing domestic violence, forced marriage, FGM and “Honour” killing.
My work is mainly safeguarding little girls from falling victims to the harmful practice of FGM, we also offer support to those who have already undergone FGM. We assist these young women to better their emotional and Physical health as it is a very difficult process, because it could expose them to Honour Based Violence from their families and also communities.
Since the launch of our FGM project in 2013, we have been very successful in providing front line support as well as raising awareness by organising women’s groups, training to professionals to enable them to recognize girls who are at risk, workshops and have done a lot of institutional advocacy. We have also been able to facilitate our clients accessing specialist clinics and providing them with emotional support, pre and post medical treatment such us counseling.
I consider my work to be therapeutic. Enabling the survivors who have had the trauma of experiencing FGM to speak out about the impact of FGM on their lives and their families. The feedback from these women survivors is very encouraging, although at times it has been very difficult for them to talk about FGM as it is a taboo subject and it is non-spoken about in their communities, they gained confidence and shared their personal experiences and their traumatic stories with me. I personaly was moved by their great courage for speaking out and therefore helping us work towards ending this harmful practice.
I feel there is much more work to be done before we see the end of FGM practice, any new project no matter how samall it is, is an additional opportunity for raising awarness of the FGM prctice and also safeguarding.
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