Based in Bahrain, Shabana Feroze is a Bahraini citizen originally from India. She started volunteering with Sahiyo in April 2017 and is the owner of advertising agency The Silver Kick Company and co-owner of a lace fashion business called Lace Love. She teaches Les Mills group fitness classes in the evenings and is a style and travel blogger at TheSilverKickDiaries.com. She believes in chasing her passions and standing up for what she believes in.
1) When did you first get involved with Sahiyo?
I first got involved with Sahiyo in April, when I signed the petition for the UN to invest in research and support to end FGC in Asia. I commented on the petition that I’m signing as I’m a victim myself, and Mariya responded to me asking me if I would like to share my story on Sahiyo’s website. I then shared my story on the website and became a volunteer soon after.
2) What opportunities have you been involved with at Sahiyo?
I try and help in any way I can as I want to support these incredible women who founded the group, and this worthy cause, as much as I can. I have helped make the website feedback evaluation questionnaire, helped to draft social media posts, and have been an interviewee for a research project based in Mumbai that will help activists who aren’t from the community. Currently, I’m working with the social media intern at Sahiyo to make their social media more effective and reach more people. And of course, I have shared the petition with my network and keep sharing news about FGC and Sahiyo’s research as much as possible so I can get friends and family to support the cause, and get them to share it with their friends and family.
3) How has your involvement impacted your life?
I do think that being involved with Sahiyo has helped to reduce the pain of being a victim of FGC. It makes me feel so good that I’m able to be a voice of Sahiyo, and to help spread the word that FGC is harmful, unnecessary and traumatizing. Ever since I realized I’m a survivor of FGC (my memory had blocked it out), I have been wanting to do something to stop FGC and through Sahiyo I get to do it. It has given me the courage to be able to talk to my cousins and friends to not have it done to their daughters or other girls in the family.
4) What pieces of wisdom would you share with new volunteers or community members who are interested in supporting Sahiyo?
Every little bit counts. There are many small jobs that need help inside the organization which we, as outsiders, don’t realize. So please volunteer and help out in those jobs. The founder members are already doing a lot of selfless work and spending lots of time to make Sahiyo a strong voice, and every little thing you can do to help them will help Sahiyo become stronger.