Mariya Taher pursued a study titled, “Understanding Female Genital Cutting in the United States“, in graduate school for her Master of Social Work from San Francisco State University. Since then, she has worked in the field of gender violence for nearly ten years, working on issues of domestic violence at W.O.M.A.N., Inc.; Asian Women’s Shelter; and Saheli, Support and Friendship for South Asian Women and Families. She was a 2014 Women’s Policy Institute for The Women’s Foundation of California and her team successfully passed legislation to provide low-income survivors of domestic violence with basic needs grants. Currently, she works with the Massachusetts Women’s Bar Association on passing state legislation to criminalize FGC and build public awareness campaigns on FGC within the state. She serves on the steering committee for the U.S. Network to End FGM/C. The Manhattan Young Democrats named her a 2017 Engendering Progress honoree and she was named 1 of the 6 FGC experts to watch by NewsDeeply.com. Learn more about her by listening to Mariya’s Interview with ABC News or reading about her on Orchid Project’s Blog. To contact Mariya, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aarefa Johari is a journalist based in Mumbai, India. She has four years of experience as a reporter and feature writer with Hindustan Times, a national daily, and currently works with Scroll.in, an online publication. She reports on communities, gender, human rights, urban development and culture. She is an alumnus of the 2013 batch of the International Visitor Leadership Programme, conducted by the United States Department of State. To contact Aarefa, email her at email@example.com.
Priya Goswami is an Indian independent filmmaker. She is the recipient of the German Chancellor Fellowship by Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and is currently based out of Germany for her research. Her film ‘A Pinch of Skin’ is the recipient of 60th National film award of India and has traveled worldwide. She has worked with the United Nations and national television news network, ‘Zee Business’ as a video producer. Priya is passionate about creating conversation on Gender and Human rights. When not making films, she is always making new travel plans or searching for new typography. Learn more about her by listening to Priya’s Interview with Hindustan Times. To contact Priya, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Insia Dariwala is an Advertising & Mass Communications graduate from F.I.T, New York, and an award-winning, international filmmaker, currently based in Mumbai. Fiercely passionate about protecting the rights of children, Insia has effectively used her 14 years of experience in advertising & films, to highlight these issues. ‘The Candy Man’ her hard hitting debut film on child abuse won her two ‘Best Director’ awards in India, and was also nominated internationally. However, ‘Cock-Tale’, her second award winning film on rape, was what gave birth to her organisation, ‘The Hands of Hope Foundation’, which is actively involved in working against sexual abuse on children, using visual art and education, to create awareness in schools, communities & slums. Insia strongly believes that FGC is also another form of violence on children, which needs to be eliminated, and has today, successfully fused both her passions to address children’s issues. See Insia speak to IBN CNN by clicking here. Learn more about a short film on FGC written and directed by Insia by clicking here. To contact Insia, email her at email@example.com.
Shaheeda Tavawalla-Kirtane is a Canadian researcher and policy analyst from Toronto, Ontario. She graduated from the University of Toronto, Trinity College, with a Bachelors of Science (Hons) degree in Pharmacology & Toxicology. She recently moved to Mumbai, India, and works for a non-partisan think tank called the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) Mumbai. Her areas of work in public health and policy are diabetes, newborn hearing screening, low-cost and high-impact health innovation, mental health and creation and promotion of health literacy programs in schools in Maharashtra, India. Shaheeda was educated at a very early age about the harmful practice of khatna by her mother, Dilshad Tavawalla, who stood her ground and protected her daughter from being subjected to it (read Ms. Tavawalla’s thoughts on khatna here). Shaheeda is keen to study female genital cutting from a research perspective and this goes back to her days as an undergraduate student studying Life Sciences.
SAHIYO STAFF AND INTERNS:
Chandni Shiyal, India Sahiyo Administrative Assistant
Chandni did her Masters in Sociology from the Department of Sociology, University of Mumbai. She also completed her M.Phil. from the Centre for African Studies, University of Mumbai on the subject of female genital mutilation in Africa with a special focus on Ethiopia. In 2015 she published a book titled Female Circumcision/ Female Genital Mutilation: A Human Rights Violation A Case Study of Ethiopia. Ms. Shiyal is currently pursuing her Ph.D. from the Centre for African Studies, University of Mumbai. Her topic of research is Gender Inequality and Women’s Health: A Comparative Study of Ethiopia and India. To contact Chandni, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lara Kingstone, U.S. Sahiyo Communications Assistant
Lara started her career in community organizing in The Challenge, a UK-based program designed to integrate London communities and empower youth to become active and engaged citizens. Lara earned a BA in Political Communications at IDC Herzliya, an Israeli University, while working as a journalist at The Culture Trip and producing and hosting a human rights radio program. She then worked at an educational center which aimed to help Palestinian and Israeli young people learn English together, and get to know each other as peers and partners in peace. After graduating, she moved to the Thai-Lao border where she volunteered at Child Rights and Protection Center, a small non-profit which aims to prevent human trafficking and gender-based violence, while providing a safe and confidence-building living environment for at-risk young women. Lara then moved to Boston, and interned with Big Sister before starting her part-time role at Silver Lining Mentoring as an Outreach Coordinator, where she aims to find volunteers to become long-term mentors for youth in foster care. Lara comes to Sahiyo ready and excited to learn and work hard. You can contact her at email@example.com.
Salma Qamruddin, Sahiyo Social Media Intern
Salma works as a scientist based out of Chicago and is new to the world of activism. She works at calling attention to current FGC activist efforts through digital platforms and serves as the current Social Media Intern for Sahiyo. She hopes that Sahiyo Stories can be a tool that takes us one step closer to an open and honest conversation about the prevalence of cutting in this day and age. To contact Salma, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Shabana Feroze, Sahiyo Social Media Consultant
Shabana has been a volunteer for Sahiyo since 2017. Coming from a Bohra family, she is a survivor of khatna herself and hence is passionate about seeing an end to the practice. Living in Bahrain, she is a Bahraini national with Indian origins. Shabana is the owner and managing director of advertising agency The Silver Kick Company. She has over 12 years of experience in the field of marketing and advertising and has a flair for social media. She is also a group fitness instructor, a fashion and travel blogger at The Silver Kick Diaries for over 8 years, and author of the book Loving Yourself In Style. To contact Shabana, email her at email@example.com