Somali Week Festival in Bethnal Green to tackle female genital mutilation

Female genital mutilation will be discussed tomorrow as part of a Somali Week Festival being staged in Bethnal Green.

The practice is long established in the Horn of Africa and continues to affect young women and their families throughout the region as well as further afield.

The afternoon session is aimed at professionals working with children and young people including teachers, social workers and health visitors.

Two panel sessions will be devoted to the complexity and breadth of female genital mutilation related issues.

The first panel will introduce participants to medical, child protection and human rights implications of female genital mutilation. The second will focus on practical ways in which professionals can tackle and respond to the practice in education, social care and health services.

Speakers at the event, which will run from 2pm to 5.30pm, will include representatives from the NSPCC FGM helpline, the Home Office’s Violence Against Women and Children unit and Tower Hamlets social services.

The event is part of London’s Somali Week Festival is taking place this week at Oxford House, Bethnal Green. It is an integral part of Black History Month and offers the best of Somali arts and culture.

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The festival at Oxford House offers a mix of events including poetry, literature, panel discussions, documentary film screenings, music and theatre. See the full programme here:

The festival also includes Women’s trajectories: Book launch, Discussion and Music (includes the launch of Nadifa Mohamed’s second novel “The Orchard of Lost Souls.” Based on the journey of three Somali women, it is set in 1988 Hargeysa, in the lead-up to the overthrow of Siad Barre’s dictatorship), It takes place from 6 to 10pm tomorrow.

On Thursday it will feature Embarking on new journeys: Youth identities, belonging and aspirations, 6 to 10pm

Friday will be Literature and Poetry Day, from 6-10pm and Saturday will include Somali Language and Literature in the 21st Century: Challenges and opportunities from 2 to 6pm as well as an evening with Said Saalah – 50 year journey and book launch from 6 to 10pm.