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ROSA, the UK fund for women and girls

Rosa team and prominent FGM Survivor launch Birmingham Mental Health Service

Over £32,000 has recently been awarded by Rosa, the UK Fund for Women and Girls, to support the development of a mental health service for FGM survivors in Birmingham.

Made possible by the Kering Corporate Foundation, the funding has been awarded to Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid to develop their existing support to FGM survivors to include greater support around emotional well-being.

Suppporting Survivors

Although FGM has physical health implications there are also mental health implications and women might suffer from PTSD, depression or relationship problems. There are currently very limited services for supporting survivors of FGM in the UK, despite the large numbers of women living with FGM. Support such as counselling is very limited with only a few services in the whole of the UK.

Céline Bonnaire of the Kering Foundation said

Launched in 2009, the Kering Corporate Foundation combats Violence Against Women. In Western Europe, the Foundation is engaged in fighting Harmful Traditional Practices. As a part of this strategy, in 2015 we decided to join The Tackling FGM Initiative, an innovative and impact-driven approach designed by Rosa Fund UK, The Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, Trust for London and Comic Relief. We are proud to support this project, in particular the dissemination of good practices and the replication of a mental health center for survivors of FGM.

Samantha Rennie of Rosa said,

Through our work with affected communities over the past six years, Rosa knows that the overwhelming majority of survivors speaking out against FGM have received mental health support. Given the importance of survivors’ voices in the success of the Tackling FGM Initiative, it is vital that more women are able to access such services.

In addition to their grant, Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid will benefit from mentoring from the Dahlia Project, a counselling service for FGM affected women which was devised and run prominent FGM activist Leyla Hussein. Following a recent visit from Hussein, Nasheima Sheikh of Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid said:

The funding from Rosa and The Kering Foundation will make a substantial difference to women survivors of FGM in Birmingham.  There are many FGM survivors in Birmingham with a prevalence rate of 12.4% per 1000 population; these survivors are also from many different countries spanning Africa, the Middle and Far East.

When women realise the full reality of what has been done to them and the lifelong consequences that result, they need a lot of in-depth emotional support as this has an impact not only on their own health, but also on their family relationships. What is wonderful about this grant is that it comes with support from Leyla Hussein, who will be training our staff on how she has supported FGM survivors.  We are really looking forward to being able to provide emotional and practical support in-depth to the many FGM survivors in Birmingham.

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Our Mission

Rosa’s mission is to support women and girls to create a society in which they:

Have an equal voice
Are safe and free from fear and violence
Enjoy good health and wellbeing
Achieve economic justice