What we do
How can you help?
There are several ways that you can support our work to end FGC. Donations are always welcome but we also need Ambassadors to inform themselves about female genital cutting and to spread the good news of abandonment and the hope that an end is possible within a generation.
Here are some ideas for ways that you can support us:
1. Inform yourself about FGC and what is being done to tackle the issue. Our new website is full of information and we regularly post new blogs on a variety of issues. Education is the first step to ending FGC, so please inform yourself.
2. Keep updated on our activities so that you can keep in touch with our news, our forthcoming events and fundraisers:
3. Raise awareness by sharing information about FGC and Orchid Project across your networks. Honest and open discussions are really important in taking the taboo out of FGC.
4. Fundraise for Orchid Project. Whether you’re a runner, a swimmer, a mountain climber, an event organiser or none of those, you can raise money for Orchid Project by setting yourself a sponsored challenge, or organising a fundraising event. Get in touch to let us know more about what you’d like to do.
Events held for Orchid Project
Women in the Fire Service (UK) raised awareness and funds at their annual training and development weekend. Anne, organising the event, said:
“It all went very well, we had a raffle, an auction of a fabulous photography book (An African Story) by one of our team, Shilla Patel, a book sale, and a quiz. We put information into every delegate pack, and we’ll mention it in the write ups for our website, newsletter & magazines to continue helping to raise awareness.”
Red Leather Couch Productions performed the Vagina Monologues, donating all proceeds to Orchid Project. Tanya, the founder of the group, said: “This was all just a crazy idea that I came up with and three friends decided to help me put it all together. And then 113 people showed up to our show. It was the coolest, funnest, best day. I really hope this money helps to prevent many young girls from having to undergo FGC and that it is eventually eradicated completely.”
Keele Obstetrics and Gynaecology Society and Keele Tropical Medical Society held an FGM talk for medical students and other healthcare professionals, including nurses and midwifes, in February 2015. Haneen Abed, who organised the event, said, “The talk was given by Miss Fidelma O’Mahony, Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Senior Lecturer at Keele Medical School. This was an opportunity for students to find out more about a continuing public health issue of FGM occurring across globe. As healthcare professionals, there is a high possibility that we may be faced with females, both young and old, having had FGM affect them, or be at risk of it affecting them, and hence it is of paramount importance that we are educated about it.
The event was a great success, with nearly 100 attendees of varying healthcare backgrounds. As well as educating ourselves, we felt it a prime opportunity to also help do something to aid cessation of FGM worldwide, hence we decided to collect donations for Orchid Project. With thanks to all attendees, we raised £92.85. We hope this will provide the charity with some additional support to help end FGM worldwide!”
On September 14th, 2014, Vicki, Sarah and Anna all completed a team triathlon for Orchid Project. They swam (Vicki), cycled (Sarah) & ran (Anna) to raise money for Orchid Project. Congratulations from everyone at Orchid Project!
Stacey and Chris, Julie, Jackie and Carmel took part in the 10k Total Warrior challenge on 2nd August 2014: “After seeing the documentary ‘Cruel Cut’ on TV we felt compelled to join the campaign. We realised the importance of raising awareness to help stop barbaric and unnecessary cruelty that continues to affect so many young girls and women.
We jumped over fire, ran through live electric wires and climbed several hurdles to raise funds. Each personal fear that was conquered through the 10k obstacle course felt all the more victorious knowing that we were raising money for such a worthwhile cause.”
Zoe Gerrard writes: “In 2013 Rosslyn Hill Chapel held an evening of dancing as part of the campaign to raise awareness of the fact that one in seven women will suffer abuse during their lifetime. It was so successful that a Ministry of Dance has been formed and we hold fundraising dances about every three months.
This time we wanted to support the Orchid Project in its campaign against FGM and raised £130. The evening, which one person described as “magical” consisted of dancing to a wide range of music, including swing, African and Eastern European, some dances choreographed and others free dancing. We also had a meditative time in which we shared poems about children, but the highlight was the recitation by a six-year-old of the sonnet “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”
Sharing food in the company of lively-minded people added to the pleasure of a special evening.”
In February 2014, Devan Moore took part in the Furness Charity Challenge in the Lancaster Grand Theatre, raising £500 for Orchid Project. Devan entered the talent contest after hearing colleagues at work talking about FGC:
I overheard some people at work talking about it, I didn’t know what they were speaking about at first I thought it was a film or something, but when they went into all the details I couldn’t help but ask what it was they were talking about. I wanted to do anything I could to help, and luckily a few weeks later I was told about Furness charity challenge, and I was positive this was the charity I wanted help.
Yvonne Obura delivers talks on FGC on behalf of Orchid Project, traveling to universities and events to discuss the issue. Yvonne is a doctor who is passionate about increasing awareness of FGC among her fellow medical colleagues and improving understanding on this issue.
Student Monisha Jackson said, ‘I chose to put forward supporting Orchid Project for JAGS’ 2014 Multicultural Evening because I felt it was extremely important to raise awareness about FGC. Many young people are unaware that such a thing is happening to girls and women both globally and right here in the UK. I want to be part of putting an end to this horrific practice and hope that the more young people learn about FGC the more they will fight for it to be stopped.’
In January 2014, Tina McCloskey held a second ‘SkyHigh’ event. In celebration of her birthday, proceeds from ticket sales were donated to Orchid Project and Camfed. Thanks Tina!
The reason I am doing the event is that a few years ago I read the book “Half the Sky”, and the stories about the lives of women across the globe just caught me, made me feel that my woes are nothing and that unless I do even one small thing to help then it is better than nothing. I normally don’t care about celebrating my birthday but as other people do care about birthdays, I thought it a good way to get people to donate to charities whilst also having a laugh and a dance. People get asked to sponsor people for 10k runs etc all the time so there is a bit of an overload.
Hopefully the event also brings topics like FGM into people’s thoughts, as they may look up more information on the charities I am collecting for. We are all too good at putting our head in the sand and thinking, ‘what can little ole me do to make a difference?’ In general I try to get people to read Half the Sky in the hope that others will do little things as well. All together we can make a difference surely.
Musicians Tony Roberts and Sera Owen held a gig to raise awareness and funds for FGC and Orchid at Blue Sky café in Bangor, Gwynedd in October 2013. A huge thanks goes to the two artists who gave their time and talent. Anna Sen, who helped organise the event, said:
Quite a few people approached me at the end to say thanks for letting them know more about FGC. I’d like to think that the more people that are aware of this, the greater the chances of change. This is just the beginning as far as I am concerned, and I’d like to think we are spreading awareness in a rural part of the UK; up here people don’t manage to get to fundraising events as easily.
See the artists’ pages and music here:
In September 2013, London-based band Molotov Jukebox supported Orchid Project as part of their Pledge Music campaign towards their latest album. Molotov Jukebox are a 6 piece band with a musical focus that ranges from gypsy to swing, through latin soul and calypso to disco to dubstep. They are fronted by Game of Thrones and Harry Potter star Natalia Tena, who said:
“We chose the Orchid Project because I was reading an article in a paper about this incredible charity on international women’s day and learning some of the facts about female genital mutilation. This takes away a woman’s right to enjoy her body, her sexuality and furthermore a huge part of her sense of self (the point in these patriarchal abusive societies) makes me furious. This was further fuelled by reading Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an incredible woman who has struggled hugely and triumphed to tell her story. I desperately wanted to help by using what I do to stop that. All the band agreed and here we are putting a percentage of every pledge towards stopping this crime against women.”
Earlier in 2013, Orchid Project volunteer Meena cycled 1000 miles from Seattle to San Francisco, raising money for Orchid Project along the way. She writes in her blog (which you can read in full here):
I actually had no idea, or to what scale, FGC was even going on, and really commend the work that Orchid Project are doing by understanding the cultural root of the issue. It’s really important to raise awareness and to help people understand sensitive issues such as FGC.
Marie Sofie Lien Sori held a cake sale and awareness campaign about female genital cutting at The University of Essex with her lacrosse club on November the 15th 2012. She said:
We sent out emails to the University department of Government, created a Facebook event where we posted details about the practice and contacted other groups on campus to spread the word of what we were doing. With help from the Orchid Project we had pamphlets to hand out as well as info graphics at the stall so people could get information about the issue and how they could contribute to ending FGC. One thing that was very noticeable was how many people were thankful that the issue of FGC was being raised. FGC cannot be stopped by a sports club in Europe. However, what we can do is to shed some light on an issue that is under-represented. We can all help to stop FGC by talking about it and giving our support. It is simple; when people know they want to help and when we stand together the case grows stronger.
Girls Girls Girls is a collective of female artists who have been working together and supporting Orchid Project with a series of live shows in intimate venues across London. The aim of bringing their work together in a collective is to stand up as young female artists in collaboration to empower each other, show casing their talents, be it music, illustration, photography or dance. They have chosen to do this in a way that supports the work of the Orchid Project – highlighting our work to empower girls and young women, and raising some funds for Orchid while they are at it.
Orchid Project took part in the Women’s 5k Challenge in Hyde Park on the 11th September 2011. In total, we had 13 supporters participating, over half of whom ran the 5k course in times around the 30 minute mark, with the rest opting to have a more leisurely walk through the beautiful Hyde Park scenery.
We want to say a MASSIVE thank you to everyone who has given us their support! If you feel like organising an event to raise awareness for Orchid Project please do get in touch – we’d love to support you. Email [email protected] to find out more.
In Memory of Zoe Miller
It is with tremendous sadness and shock that we learnt about the untimely death of Zoe Miller, in a tragic accident near her home on 23 April 2012.
Two months earlier, we met Zoe for the first time on International Day against female genital cutting, on 6th February. Her mum, Jane, had asked that she attend our event at the House of Commons.
Zoe showed poise, understanding, compassion and maturity. She also loved meeting Sister Fa, and the atmosphere at the concert later on in the evening. It made us more intent to understand that everyone needs to respond to the challenges of FGC with their own honesty and truth. Above all else, as a girl raised in Africa and having travelled to so many places in her life, she seemed to really comprehend the sensitivities and complexities behind FGC and its ending.
It is with great honour that Orchid has accepted the Miller family’s wishes to set up a fund to celebrate her life. To know that somehow, Zoe’s spirit will be with us as we continue our tireless work to help end female genital cutting seems entirely fitting. We hope we do justice to her adventurous spirit and loving determination, of her and of her family.
If you would like to donate in memory of Zoe Miller, you may do so here.
Donate to Orchid Project
Orchid Project is a lean, energetic, efficient outfit and always intend to remain so. Your donation will help us make more of an impact. Any amount will help us to continue with our work.
You can donate to us in a number of ways:
1. Donate regularly. If you can commit to a regular monthly donation, you can be part of ending FGC. Regular donations let us plan for the future and mean we can commit to more projects and progress. And if you’re a UK tax payer, with Gift Aid we can claim an extra 25p in every £1 donated.
2. Make a one-off donation - please remember to Gift Aid your donation.
3. Write us a cheque or set up a standing order. Contact us here for more details.
5. If you are Danish, join Foreningen Orchid Project Danmark, our Danish supporter group based in Copenhagen.