Sahiyo is excited to announce that the Wallace Global Fund has awarded a $30,000 grant to Orchid Project, as support for the organizational setup of Sahiyo. The Orchid Project has a vision of a world free from FGC and Sahiyo is a transnational organization with the mission to empower Dawoodi Bohra and other Asian communities to end FGC and create positive social change through dialogue, education and collaboration based on community involvement. Both Orchid Project and Sahiyo want to put Asian communities on the map of areas affected by FGC.
Sahiyo’s founding group includes a social worker, a researcher, two filmmakers and a journalist, all of whom had already been speaking out, in their own ways, against the practice of khatna or FGC. As the collaboration grew, Sahiyo’s founders realized the need for an organized, informed forum within the community that could help drive a movement to bring an end to FGC. That is how Sahiyo, the organization, was born. Sahiyo is the Bohra Gujarati word for ‘saheliyo’, or friends, and reflects our organization’s mission to engage in dialogue with the community to find a collective solution towards ending the practice of FGC.
For generations, the practice was clouded in secrecy, and thus a first goal of Sahiyo’s was to break the silence shrouding the continuation of the practice. In July 2015, Sahiyo launched an exploratory online survey to understand the purpose, extent and impact of khatna among Bohras. The survey was created with inputs from experts like Dr. Gerry Mackie, Molly Melching (Tostan), and members of the German-Iraqi NGO Wadi. More than 400 women completed the survey in the six months that the survey was open. Preliminary results indicated that close to 80% of respondents stated that khatna was performed on them. Survey results also showed a definite need for community awareness and engagement programs to bring the subject of FGC out of the realm of secrecy and promote discussions about its adverse effects. As a result Sahiyo began community mobilization to end FGC by engaging in the following activities: peer-to-peer counselling, storytelling and undertaking extensive online outreach programs through various public awareness and advocacy campaigns.
With support from the Wallace Global Fund, Sahiyo is moving towards the development of sustainable programs that can both strengthen Sahiyo organizationally and increase our capacity to work on FGC in a meaningful way.
Thank you Wallace Global Fund for your support!