This blog is part of a series of reflective essays by participants of the Voices to End FGM/C workshops run by Sahiyo and StoryCenter. Through residential and online workshops on digital storytelling, Voices to End FGM/C enables those who have been affected by female genital mutilation/cutting to tell their stories through their own perspectives, in their own words.
My experience with the Global Voices to End FGM/C digital storytelling workshop in July 2019 workshop was not an isolated event in itself, but is part of a larger mission, i.e. elemination of the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM). It is a practice prevalent in my community, the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community. FGM is a practice that has been handed down as a tradition to be followed without being questioned.
When my niece, Farzana, an eminent writer and therapist, a voice recognised in the literary circle in Canada, introduced me to Masooma Ranavli, the principal advocate on FGM through her organisation, Speak Out On FGM, it gave me an opportunity to participate in a movement against this practice. I later joined Sahiyo, another organisation with the same mission.
The storytelling workshop is a continuum of the same mission. It is one of the ways by which the message is spread and conveyed. Female genital mutilation must stop. Gender bias must stop.
As children we may not remember the things we studied, but we definitely remember the stories that were told to us. They left a lasting impact on us; such is the power of storytelling. My story has been unique to me. Yet, it resonates with the stories of many women like me who have been cut as little girls. It’s a story which I am hopeful will kindle the hearts of many to stand up against this patriarchal practice.