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Welcome to the July 2021 newsletter

To our Sahiyo community,

We would like to thank everyone who continues to support Sahiyo's work by spreading awareness and building a dialogue and conversation to end female genital cutting (FGC). Your efforts mean a lot to us. Your contributions have created and will continue to create impact in the community to end FGC. 

This month we are pleased to announce that Sahiyo and StoryCenter will be releasing 11 new digital stories on FGC weekly in connection with our Voices to End FGM/C project. This project has encouraged survivors to not only share their experiences of undergoing FGC in their own ways but also supported healing through the sharing process. We strongly feel that these stories will help other survivors to come forward and help in spreading awareness toward bringing an end to FGC.

Our Bhaiyo team is highlighting the role men play as allies in the quest to end FGC and provide support to survivors. Check out our social media campaign on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube that highlight male allies. 

Register for our upcoming webinar with expert panelists about addressing the critical intersections of anti-racism and FGC. Check out our intern spotlight feature on Madrisha Debnath, our research intern in India. Don’t miss Dear Maasi’s newest column about clitoral anatomy. Let us all unite together to end FGC. 

As always, feel free to reach out to us at info@sahiyo.com.



   

Best wishes,
Chandni Shiyal
Sahiyo India Administrative Manager

Sahiyo and StoryCenter release newest digital stories from Voices to End FGM/C workshop

Watch Absa Samba’s Voices to End FGM/C video: Please Listen

Sahiyo and StoryCenter will be releasing 11 new digital stories on female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) weekly in connection with our Voices to End FGM/C project. This project brought storytellers and activists from across the globe together online, to share and heal from their experiences with FGM/C, grow as community leaders, and create short videos calling for an end to this harmful practice. Those contributing to the Voices project come from a wide range of cultural and community contexts, but they share one thing in common: each has developed a unique story addressing the diverse and enduring impacts of FGM/C. Some storytellers talk about the physical and emotional consequences of the practice; others discuss advocacy efforts to end FGM/C or talk about how FGM/C has affected their connections with the women in their families. The stories are tied together by a deep commitment to ensuring that future generations of girls are spared from the pain of this form of gender-based violence.

Watch Absa Samba’s Voices to End FGM/C video: Please Listen, and read her reflection blog about her experience with the workshop.

Support the Voices Workshops By Donating!
 
Addressing critical intersections: Anti-racism and female genital cutting

Sahiyo will host Critical Intersections: Anti-Racism and Female Genital Cutting (FGC) on July 29th at 1 pm EST, a webinar with four expert speakers, including Leyla Hussein, Aarefa Johari, Aissata M.B. Camara, and Sunera Sadicali. Systemic racism has negatively impacted the movement to end FGC, as well as survivors themselves. This webinar will explore the intersection of anti-racism work and the work to end FGC. Sahiyo U.S. Executive Director Mariya Taher will moderate the panel. These renowned activists have worked in the field of FGC prevention and survivor support, exploring the critical intersections where this form of gender-based violence meets systemic racism.   

Our guest speakers' experiences will expand the conversation on how FGC survivors and advocates for change often have to push back against racist narratives in their work and in their journey toward healing, as well as how systemic racism can delay substantial change on this issue.

Join our discussion about how we can all become better advocates in the journey to end systemic racism and FGC. This event is open to anyone who wishes to attend.

Read more about this webinar or register!

 
Practitioner and advocate training: Best practices for working with survivors of gender-based violence

On June 18th Sahiyo partnered with Hidden Scars to host a training for practitioners and advocates working with survivors of gender-based violence (GBV), including female genital cutting (FGC). While Sahiyo’s expertise is in addressing FGC, we acknowledge that FGC is a form of gender-based violence and child abuse. While we used FGC as a case study, our goal was to create a training that would allow practitioners to provide better care to all survivors of gender-based violence. We also provided resources for clinicians and other front-line professionals who may come in contact with women impacted by both, and who are looking to better understand how to provide better care. 

Watch this event and/or read more about the training.

Dear Maasi talks about clitoral anatomy

 

Dear Maasi is a column highlighting everything you want to know about sex and relationships but were afraid to ask. It’s a partnership between Sahiyo and WeSpeakOut. It’s for all of us who have questions about female genital cutting (FGC) or khatna, and how it impacts our bodies, minds, sexuality and relationships. We welcome you to submit your anonymous questions.

Dear Maasi

I’ve been hearing that the clitoris is much bigger than the external pea-sized part we mostly hear about. This gave me some hope as a survivor of female genital mutilation/cutting. Does this mean I can have orgasms more easily? I’ve only had a few in my life, and I’ve been sexually active for twenty years.

—Fatema


Read Dear Maasi’s response to Fatema.

Bhaiyo launches campaign to engage male allies to end female genital cutting

Bhaiyo is Sahiyo’s male allyship program whose aim is to create a space where male allies can come together to collaborate, spark dialogue, and spread information about female genital cutting (FGC) and its harmful impacts. Launched in 2020, Bhaiyo has been involved in engaging male allies in a multitude of ways, including a webinar on male allyship. In June, Bhaiyo began a Father’s Day-inspired social media campaign to promote our program and encourage male allyship in our work to empower communities to end FGC.    

During this Father’s Day social media campaign, we highlighted the role men play in empowering their communities to end FGC — particularly focused on their roles and experiences as fathers, or future fathers, and brothers. The campaign culminated in a meet and greet event for male activists involved in this work on July 20th.  Moving forward, we hope to inspire more community and relationship building between our male allies so that they can share resources, stories, and keep each other motivated in their crucial work.   

Watch this video shared by male allies at the start of the campaign.

Sahiyo volunteer spotlight: Research intern Madrisha Debnath
Madrisha Debnath

Madrisha Debnath is a graduate from Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi with a masters in geography. Her research interests are in the area of feminist geography, geography of bodies and embodiment. Having a female body, she is passionate to understand the cultural practice of FGC and the process of cultural embodiment. She is grateful to Sahiyo for upholding feminist values and thus being culturally inclusive, and looks forward to making a meaningful contribution as a research intern at achieving Sahiyo’s aim.

“It is not easy to break the silence on the taboo of FGC, or for that matter any social problems, but if we start we can contribute to at least some changes and contribute toward building an equal society,” Madrisha said.

Read about Madrisha’s experience at Sahiyo.

Donate to Sahiyo India via an Indian bank account to help India-based programming 

In 2015, when we started our work to end female genital cutting (FGC) in India, we learned Sahiyo’s strongest supporters are community members who wish to end the practice. Sahiyo has always been a grassroots movement, supported by women who have experienced FGC, their spouses, relatives, and friends. Since then, we have been fortunate to receive support from well-wishers from across the globe. In 2021, we stand strong as Sahiyo India and Sahiyo United States, two organizations united against FGC. 

Today, Sahiyo India needs your support to strengthen our domestic programs.

Over the years, Sahiyo India has worked with dozens of people around India to bring ending FGC to the fore. Programs such as Thaal Pe Charcha, Activists’ Retreat, and creative sharing of stories gave those most affected by FGC a safe space to speak about their experiences, challenge norms, and find allies within the community. We are also in the process of developing toolkits and building a bank of knowledge database in multiple languages to disseminate information on FGC.

However, all of these activities come at a cost, and we are looking to you to keep things going. Sahiyo is just the megaphone. The voice is - and always will be - yours. So help us amplify what you want to say and make the change you want to see. 

Here is what you can do for Sahiyo’s India chapter:

  • Make a donation from your Indian bank account. No amount is too small! 

  • If you are a non-resident and have an Indian bank account, you can still donate to us through your Indian account. 

  • Tell others in and outside of India about Sahiyo India’s work and spread the word on FGC in India

Donate online today!
Beneficiary name: Sahiyo Charitable Trust
Bank name: Bank of India
Branch: Lokhandwala, Andheri (W), Mumbai - 400053
Account number: 017310210000014
Account type: Current
IFSC Code: BKID0000173

Or pay via check addressed to Sahiyo Charitable Trust.
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