Today is International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation. It's a serious name for a day, because it's a serious, widespread issue which has to stop. Which is why a group of her friends have started an initiative called Donate the Dress - where women can auction their wedding gowns to help victims of FGM - to try and help.
It's difficult to read, let alone believe the facts about FGM. According to the World Health Organisation, 150 million women are affected by the destructive practice worldwide. It is practiced on girls verging on puberty, girls of primary school age, and increasingly small babies,and involves the injury and sometimes complete removal of their genitalia. It's a shocking rite of passage which has no place in the world.
It's when you realise that 137,000 of the girls and women are right here, in the UK - not just some parts of Africa, India, the Middle East and Asia - who have been affected by this violent practice, that you realise we can't just put £5 in an envelope every month and hope the world will get a little better (although, of course that helps too). We've got to discuss it, to demystify it, remove the shroud of shame and silence, and to show the powers that continue it, that FGM is abuse and cannot go on.
That's why a small group of my friends and I have grouped together to set up an initiative to try and help. The world respected charity Desert Flower Foundation, started by Somalian model and FGM survivor is working towards setting up the UK's first support center dedicated to helping victims of Female Genital Mutilation in London. To kickstart the funding of this, we've started Donate the Dress - where women (and men!) can auction off their wedding dress, veil, shoes, accessories, or even suits and services to help put a stop to FGM.
How you can help...
*To donate your dress is simple, just photograph your clean dress, upload the pictures (and some from your own wedding) and a description to eBay for Charity, using the instructions on our site, and choose Desert Flower Foundation as your donation point. To check out all the dresses, accessories, suits and services you can buy - and donate with - head to Donate the Dress for more details. For more information on Desert Flower Foundation UK, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Desert Flower Foundation. *