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Savera UK Founder reflects on Savera UK's 2018

By Afrah Qassim

As 2018 is coming to an end, I want to reflect and capture few things we done in the last 12 months.

Savera UK had a fantastic start into 2018, where ELLE magazine described the charity as one of 9 incredible organisations to be involved with, a few months later we were recognised by Stylist magazine for one of the 8 charities that deserve your attention on International Women’s Day. We were nominated for the National Diversity Award! This unexpected support and recognition gives the team and the organisation more motivation to continue with the hard work that we do. 

More of Savera UK highlights in 2018, is that for the first time, we were commissioned by Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner to deliver the harmful practices specialist support service across Merseyside. We also developed the Youth Programme and the bespoke educational programme that is now delivered to young people across Merseyside and Cheshire. We are also very pleased to now have our volunteer and student programme up and running.

It was a delight to be chosen by Maya Jama to represent Savera UK by taking the role as the Ambassador of the charity. Since the announcement in October 2018, Maya has already attended Savera UK's first ever Youth Led Conference held in November 2018 as well as holding an online pop up shop to help fundraise for the charity. I also want to give a huge thank you to our Patron Nazir Afzal for his continuing support in championing the work we do to end violence against women and girls nationally and internationally.  

The charity’s partnership has continued to grow and in the last year we have delivered a number of partnerships including Liverpool Arab Art Festival and the Liverpool Irish Festival, these two festivals are Liverpool based, but broadcast at national and international levels. We also took part in the 2018 Unison National Black members conference, delivered at Action for Children's webinar and took part in the Emerging Voices for Global Health programme.

Not to forget the events and conferences that Savera UK held this year using the national and international dates. The International Day of Zero Tolerance of FGM was 6th February 2018 and we used this to raise awareness of Female Genital Mutilation by showing a film around the issue followed by a panel discussion. On 14th July, The National Day of Remembrance for those Lost in the Name of so-called ‘Honour’, we had a ‘My Story’ theme where survivors came together to share their experiences. Encouraging and empowering survivors to share their experience, helps and encourages many others in similar situations to seek help, but also to let them know that they are not on their own. Through our community engagement we have been able to raise awareness across many communities, attending or setting up community events to engage with different diverse communities.

Savera UK has a small of dedicated team who work very hard to ensure our clients are getting the best support as well as supporting professionals to help them understand the issues of harmful practices. Honour based abuse is still a taboo issue, despite the breakthrough so far, many are still not able to recognise or understand the high risks and the extreme consequences an individual can be under if they don’t conform to their family values and cultural traditions. So, Savera UK is continuing to raise awareness and campaign to challenge and change attitudes of these harmful practices.

As the leader of the organisation, I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to the fantastic Savera UK team, they work extremely hard on a daily basis to ensure our services are of high standard, I am so proud of them.

Thank you to Savera UK’s Board for their passion and commitment in leading this unique organisation. Thank you to our clients who we see grow and build their “Savera” (new beginning) and see them change and build their independence is worth all the hard work. Thank you to everyone who worked, supported and continues their partnership and support alongside our journey for 2019. Seasons greeting and all the best for 2019.

Afrah Qassim, Founder and Chair of Savera UK

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