14 December 2015
An estimated 137,00 women in the UK are affected by female genial mutilation (FGM). FGM has been illegal in the UK since 1985. However, given the deep rooted, cultural and 'hidden' nature of the crime, it is a difficult law to enforce.
Forward the UKs leading African diaspora women’s campaign and support organisation, tackling discriminatory practices that affect the dignity and wellbeing of girls sand women. Forward visit West Thames College annually to contribute to student’s personal development, encouraging them to be aware of different issues, such as FGM. Following a FGM workshop last academic year Zaynab Barok, a Level 3 Health and Care student was left inspired to get involved and support the organisation in any way she could.
Zaynab has been an active youth advocate for Forward UK since September 2015 and says she feels passionalte about ending FGM . Zaynab organised a charity event and wrote Imperfect Rose to raise awareness of FGM. Zaynab worked extrememly hard alongside the performaing arts staff and students as they developed the performance, ensuring it maintained its essence and stayed true to the themes she had written.
"The play highlights the social pressures on family members when they're deciding whether to allow their children to undergo FGM," explains Zaynab.
"I feel passionate about the issue because I come from Kenya and Yemen, where FGM is practised. In Yemen, there's a 23% rate of FGM."
"Many people say Muslims are the ones who do this but I'm a Muslim and I feel passionately that it's wrong."
"I think there is a lot of progress being made around the world to prevent FGM, especially thanks to the work of Forward."
Zaynab also enlisted the help of West Thames College Media students, who filmed the play along with her fellow Health and Care students who held a charity cake sale.
The charity event was supported by Coffee Republic and Zaynab will be donating the £242 raised from ticket sales to Forward UK.