“The opportunity to participate in this webinar created a space for me to be vulnerable and feel supported while sharing the space with people who are doing just the same. Together, we learned, shared, supported and healed.”
-Absa, Voices Storyteller
Absa is one of 200 million women affected by female genital mutilation/cutting worldwide. She is also one of the 11 storytellers in a new cohort of Sahiyo and StoryCenter’s Voices to End FGM/C project, choosing to share her personal story in the hope that no more girls will be subjected to FGM/C.
On July 5th, Sahiyo will begin releasing 11 videos produced as part of the Voices to End FGM/C project. A collaboration between Sahiyo and StoryCenter, this project is mobilizing a critical mass of storytellers and activists from across the globe by bringing people together to share and heal from their experiences of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), connect and grow as leaders in their own communities, and create short videos calling for an end to this harmful practice.
“The most important thing was that we were all united by a common goal: to raise awareness about FGC and hopefully end the practice. Through this shared desire, we built a supportive network, and I soon felt less like a participant in a workshop and more like a member of a community.” ~ Hunter Kessous, Voices storyteller
Since 2018, the two organizations have held a total of five workshops, supporting 49 storytellers from 16+ countries in sharing personal stories of courage and transformation. With the onset of the global pandemic, a shadow pandemic of increased gender-based violence has emerged. As lockdowns have interrupted efforts to reduce and prevent gender-based violence, the UN has reported that 2 million additional women and girls are at risk of FGM/C.
The most recent Voices workshop, held virtually in January and February of 2021, offered participating storytellers a community amidst the pandemic .
“As a survivor, I know now more than ever before, women’s voices need to be heard. This is not the time to stay silent when the world is enduring a pandemic, and on top of that women and girls are being disproportionately impacted by gender-based violence. I’m so thankful we have been able to continue the Voices project and give women a platform to share their stories.” ~ Mariya Taher, Sahiyo U.S. Cofounder & U.S. Executive Director
“We feel blessed that global access to the necessary online tools enabled us to engage storytellers who would not have been able to travel to an in-person digital storytelling workshop. The relationships built, and the intimacy cultivated in the virtual session, while different from what would have occurred in a real-world gathering, were nonetheless powerful and nourishing for the storytellers and advocates who came together to share stories about FGM/C.” ~ Amy Hill, Silence Speaks Director, StoryCenter
The videos are being utilized globally to advocate for the abandonment of FGM/C within communities, train healthcare and other sevice providers on the impact of FGM/C, and educate legislators on the need for policies that protect future generations of girls from FGM/C. To view the new videos, check out this playlist. Previously published videos can be found on this playlist)
For further questions, contact Mariya at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See press release as a PDF.