• 22 May 2014

Leyla Hussein speaks at Arc Theatre

Prominent anti-female genital mutilation activist Leyla Hussein spoke at Barking and Dagenham’s resident professional theatre company Arc Theatre’s ‘Raised Voices’ girls group on Thursday, May 15. She approached the group after hearing about films projects that Arc’s young participants had been working on exploring issues affecting young women in the borough.

Image from Arc Theatre
Leyla Hussein (right) at the Arc Theatre group

The projects, funded by the PHF Education and Learning programme, started with ‘Finding the Words’ in 2012, with ‘Raised Voices’ continuing until 2015. Issues explored include girls and gangs, sexting and cyberbullying, sexual and domestic violence, sexual exploitation, FGM and female solidarity.

‘Raised Voices’ seeks to build girls’ confidence, communication and leadership skills by getting them to produce films and present their work to schools and youth centres to raise awareness of the issues they face, steering them away from crime and enabling them to have an influence on policy and practice in one of the most deprived boroughs in London. PHF funding of £165,000 over three years contribute to the costs of the project, including training young women to become peer educators.

Leyla Hussein has been campaigning against FGM for over a decade after being cut at the age of seven. She has presented a recent Channel 4 documentary on the subject called ‘The Cruel Cut’ and currently works to raise public awareness of FGM and gender-related violence.

More on the visit can be found here.