Sahiyo is an organization with the mission to empower Asian communities to end female genital cutting through community collaboration, and this work could not be done without dedicated volunteers supporting us. To show our appreciation, Sahiyo would like to begin spotlighting those volunteers who have made invaluable contributions to our organization.
Mariya Ali is a U.K. based volunteer who has been with Sahiyo for over a year now. She is a proficient writer and has a fine eye for detail. To learn more about how she has supported our work, read her interview below.
1) When did you first get involved with Sahiyo?
I first got involved with Sahiyo in July 2015. A friend of mine spotted an article that I wrote on FGC and connected me with her cousin, who is a co-founder of Sahiyo.
2) What opportunities have you been involved with at Sahiyo?
I contribute to the putting together of the Sahiyo newsletter and I have written some articles that have been posted on the Sahiyo blog. I have also had the pleasure to meet other people who have the same passion as I do to end this practice.
3) How has your involvement impacted your life?
For many years I couldn’t really connect with anyone about what had happened to me – it was an unspoken event and a memory that I wasn’t able to understand. I’ve found a network of people who are supportive and understanding and we all have a common goal. I’ve found a forum where I can ask questions. I also feel like I am finally part of something that is making an impact and part of a collective voice that is finally being heard.
Working with Sahiyo has given me a deep sense of contentment. The pinnacle for me was when a friend of mine, who is a mother of two young girls, told me that through reading the articles that I shared, she had decided not to perform FGC on her daughters. Something as simple as sharing a post can have a significant impact.
4) What pieces of wisdom would you share with new volunteers or community members who are interested in supporting Sahiyo?
Don’t be afraid of speaking up. You may think that your voice is a whisper, but many voices together make a roar. Even if it is in your own home, break the taboo. This is not a private, personal issue; This is a violation of human rights.