FGM survivor behind film “A Girl From Mogadishu” to join Savera UK event

A social activist and survivor of female genital mutilation (FGM) will join speakers from Savera UK and Liverpool Arab Arts Festival (LAAF) for an event ahead of UN’s International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation.

On Thursday 4th February, global gender-based violence activist, Ifrah Ahmed, will join director, Mary McGuckian, Savera UK founder and CEO, Afrah Qassim and LAAF’s volunteer festival programmer, Professor Anahid Kassabian, for a panel discussion based around the Pembridge Pictures film, A Girl From Mogadishu, which was based on Ifrah’s recorded testimony and directed, produced and written by Mary McGuckian.

The ticketed panel event, which will discuss Ifrah’s story and the issues it raises around FGM and gender-based violence, will be chaired by Savera UK Patron and former Chief Crown Prosecutor for North West England, Nazir Azfal OBE.

Winner of the Cinema for Peace Women’s Empowerment Award at the 2020 Berlin Film Festival, A Girl From Mogadishu is a powerful and inspiring film based on the true story of global gender based violence activist, Ifrah Ahmed, who will join Mary McGuckian, Savera UK’s Afrah Qassim and LAAF’s Professor Anahid Kassabian for the event.

Fleeing war-torn Somalia in 2006 for the United States, Ifrah is trafficked to Dublin, Ireland where she applies for asylum. A traumatic medical examination reveals the extent of her mutilation as a child.

Traumatised by the memory, she channels the experience into a force for change and emerges as a formidable campaigner against female genital mutilation at the highest political echelons in Ireland, Europe and globally.

Starring Aja Naomi King (How to Get Away with Murder) as Ifrah Ahmed and Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips) along with Orla Brady (Picard, Rose Plays Julie) and Somali icon, Maryam Mursal the film boasts an original score by Nitin Sawhney and its title track also features Quiet by Milck, the unofficial anthem of the 2017 USA Women’s March.

A screening link to the film will be provided to all registrants ahead of the event – Talking FGM: An afternoon with Ifrah Ahmed the “Girl from Mogadishu” – which will also act as a fundraiser for Savera UK, with fifty percent of all proceeds from ticket sales being donated to the charity, which supports survivors and those at risk of harmful practices like FGM, forced marriage and ‘honour’-based abuse.

Speaking ahead of the event, Afrah Qassim said:A Girl From Mogadishu is a powerful telling of Ifrah’s incredible story. It addresses so many issues faced by those at risk of FGM and other harmful practices, here in the UK and across the globe, while also highlighting the power of speaking out against these practices.”

Professor Anahid Kassabian, from LAAF, added: “Film has the power, almost more than any art form, to help communicate what people are experiencing and the challenges they face in a way that inspires empathy and understanding. This is how we build change. I’m looking forward to seeing the impact this film has, and the conversation that comes from it.”

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