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FGM: students and survivors team up for pioneering billboard campaign

The UK’s first ever billboard campaign against female genital mutilation (FGM) has been launched to raise awareness that FGM is an issue in the UK and to help those affected get advice ...

The UK’s first ever billboard campaign against female genital mutilation (FGM) has been launched to raise awareness that FGM is an issue in the UK and to help those affected get advice via a telephone helpline service.

The campaign is the result of a collaboration between two North London students and two FGM survivors.

Whilst studying for A levels at the Fine Arts College, Hampstead, Mabel Evans and Kain Egan first learnt about FGM. Supported by teacher Terri Murray they decided to make a documentary film on the harmful practice. As part of the film they interviewed two FGM survivors, Hoda Ali and Aissa Edon, and documented their moving stories.
 
Shocked by what they had learnt about FGM, including that as many as 60,000 British girls are thought to be at risk, and inspired by Hoda and Aissa, the students decided to take action. Despite FGM being a known problem in the UK, Mabel and Kain were dismayed that there had been very little publicity about the practice and even though billboards against it have been used in African countries no-one had done this for the UK. The entrepreneurial pair recruited a team of supporters and began fundraising for their own billboard campaign.
 
The first poster, a striking image of girls and women of different ages with FGM written across their foreheads, will be displayed at sites across west London during May and June. Further fundraising is planned for more posters and to make this a sustained campaign.
 
Hoda Ali, FGM survivor, sexual health nurse at Ealing Hospital and Trustee of anti-FGM charity 28 Too Many said, “I am so proud of what Mabel, Kain and the team supporting them have achieved. Like other survivors I live with the consequences of FGM very day and it is wonderful that these young people have chosen to stand with us. They are helping to end FGM so that the next generation of girls, including the 60,000 girls currently at risk in the UK, can live free from this harmful  practice.”
 
Ann-Marie Wilson, 28 Too Many’s Executive Director said, “These ground-breaking billboards will be seen by many people and help raise awareness about FGM. Educating people is essential to end the practice and also to ensure that those who have had FGM have access to the support and healthcare they need.

"The passion of Mabel, Kain and the other young people behind this project and their determination to make the world a safer place for others is inspiring and a good demonstration of how together we can end FGM.”

More at www.28toomany.org

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