Payzee Mahmod, a prominent campaigner against ‘honour’-based abuse, female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage has been appointed as a Savera UK Survivor Ambassador.
A survivor of FGM and child marriage herself, Payzee’s sister, 20-year-old Banaz, was murdered in a so-called ‘honour’ killing in 2006 after trying to escape her violent and abusive husband. Banaz’s story is the basis for ITV’s upcoming two-part drama Honour, which will be broadcast over two nights, on Monday 28th and Tuesday 29th September 2020 at 9pm.
A Kurdish immigrant, Payzee was raised in London. Since her sister’s death, she has used her voice to speak out as a survivor – not a victim – and has made it her mission to be a changemaker, helping to tackle harmful practices in the UK and beyond.
Joining forces with Savera UK, one of the UK’s leading charities tackling culturally-specific abuse, Payzee will continue to fight for changes to the laws surrounding child marriage and ‘honour’-based abuse. She will also support Savera UK Youth in raising awareness and educating the younger generation on harmful practices and empowering young people to speak out and break the silence against these hidden practices.
Savera UK Youth is a group of young people aged 11-25 who campaign to eliminate harmful practices amongst their peers.
Payzee began her work with Savera UK after speaking at the Savera UK Youth #EndFGM Exhibition in November 2019. She was also part of the Savera UK Youth #ImSpeakingOut quiz with Savera UK Celebrity Ambassador, Maya Jama, which took place in July 2020. Inspired by her story and activism, the Youth Advisory Board invited her to become an ambassador for the organisation.
Speaking of her appointment, Payzee said: “I am very excited and honoured to work with Savera UK Youth to raise awareness and work towards eradicating ‘honour’-based abuse.
“I am humbled and inspired by the young people’s commitment to this issue. This representation is crucial to engaging young people and hearing about the work we need to do directly from them. I am hopeful they will bring change and I’m there to support them all the way.”
Payzee focuses her campaigning on ‘honour’-based abuse and child marriage as ambassador for IKWRO and has reached international audiences. She has spoken widely on the subject across radio, television and newspapers, including The Sunday Times and the BBC and has delivered a TEDX talk.
Through speeches at Parliament and meeting with government officials and the Home Office Minister to explain first-hand why change is needed, Payzee campaigns for better education, training and legislation to finally make child marriage a crime.
Afrah Qassim, CEO & Founder of Savera UK, said: “We are thrilled that Payzee is joining the Savera UK family. By bravely using her voice and sharing her story, she inspires and encourages others to speak out and reminds people why change is needed.”
Isabella Rooke-Ley, Chair of Savera UK Youth Advisory Board, said: “When I first heard Payzee speak about her subjection to FGM, child marriage, and about her sister Banaz, being murdered for trying to escape her abusive husband that she was forced to marry, I was moved to tears.
“Her words and activism powerfully personify the issues at stake, which the Savera UK Youth Advisory Board is invested everyday in eradicating, making us even more determined to educate our generation and empower them to #SpeakOut against FGM, child/forced marriage, and ‘honour’-based abuse and not to fear asking our families and communities to challenge and recognise harmful culture and traditions.”
Payzee joins Kiara Mohamed, Khatra Paterson and Babs Ceesay as Savera UK Survivor Ambassadors who also speak out about harmful practices and bravely share their personal stories.
Written by Shauna Lacy & Nikki Girvan