Tag: Liverpool

Movema's Sankofa Bird leads Savera UK's 5k to End HBA march through Liverpool city centre

Savera UK marches through Liverpool against ‘honour’-based abuse

Movema's Sankofa Bird leads Savera UK's 5k to End HBA march through Liverpool city centre
Movema’s Sankofa Bird leads Savera UK’s 5k to End HBA march through Liverpool city centre. Credit: Gary Lambert

Last week, to mark the start of the 16 Days of Activism against gender-based abuse, Savera UK, Zonta Club London and supporters marched through Liverpool city centre in protest against ‘honour’-based abuse (HBA) and harmful practices such as female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage.

Ahead of the march there were speeches from Savera UK CEO and Founder, Afrah Qassim, Dianne Jeans from Zonta Club London and Merseyside PCC, Emily Spurrell, as well as the reading of Melika’s* story – a survivor supported by Savera UK.

After a moment of reflection, when the names of those lost to gender-based violence and ‘honour’-based abuse were read out, the march began, led by Movema’s stunning Sankofa Bird, performed by Angelina Able.

The Sankofa Bird is one of four birds from Movema’s ‘Taking Flight’ production, which have been inspired by their artists’ experiences of migration and informed by the refugee and asylum seeker communities with who they work.

‘Taking Flight’ explores birds’ and humans’ desire for freedom and flight, and the role of modern aeronautics to enable this, with the four symbolic birds to represent futuristic cyborgs, whose bodies are part aircraft, part bird, part human.

The concept of “Sankofa” is derived from King Adinkera of the Akan people of Ghana, West Africa. Visually and symbolically, “Sankofa” is expressed as a mythic bird that flies forward while looking backward with an egg (symbolising the future) in its mouth.

It teaches us that we must go back to our roots in order to move forward. That is, we should reach back and gather the best of what our past has to teach us, so that we can achieve our full potential as we move forward. Whatever we have lost, forgotten, forgone, or been stripped of, can be reclaimed, revived, preserved, and perpetuated.

Movema’s Sankofa Bird combines the symbolism of “Sankofa” and the design of passenger aircraft and was selected to support the message of the march – one of belonging, overcoming struggles and adversity and freedom.

Hundreds of people were engaged by the march and performance, before the group joined the vigil for Liverpool’s Lost Women, led by Liverpool Domestic Abuse Service, Amadudu and RASA Merseyside, in a show of solidarity and commitment to tackling gender-based violence in the city and around the world.

The march marked the start of the annual global Orange the World campaign and start of the UN’s 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence, which takes place between the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls on 25th November and Human Rights Day on 10th December.

Several civic buildings and landmarks also illuminated orange in solidarity with the campaign, including the Liverpool Town Hall, the Cunard Building, St George’s Hall, World Museum in Liverpool, Greystone Footbridge in Knowsley, the Mersey Gateway Bridge in Halton, Merseyside Police Headquarters and Wallasey Town Hall in Wirral.

Savera UK’s campaign will continue throughout November and December, with the charity inviting people to do a #5KForThe5000 and help raise awareness and funds to help it continue its work campaigning, educating, and advocating for and supporting survivors: https://register.enthuse.com/ps/event/5KtoEndHBAFundraisingEvent

Savera UK and Zonta Club London’s “Orange the World” toolkit, which contains information, resources and ideas for speaking out against gender-based violence and abuse, can also be found here: https://www.saverauk.co.uk/orange-the-world-campaign/

*Melika is a pseudonym

Text reads 'Day of Memory 2022'

Savera UK to remember victims of ‘honour’ killings at Pier Head

Representatives from Savera UK, a leading charity tackling ‘honour’-based abuse (HBA) and harmful practices, are set to mark the annual “Day of Memory” for those lost to ‘honour’ killings and ‘honour’-based abuse with a ribbon-tying ceremony at Liverpool’s Pier Head (4:30pm – 5:30pm).

The short ceremony will begin at 4:30pm with introductions and speeches from Savera UK Chair, Aislinn O’Dwyer, CEO and Founder, Afrah Qassim and Merseyside’s Police’s Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG) lead Chief Superintendent, Ngaire Waine.

An estimated 12 – 15 ‘honour’ killings take place each year in the UK, yet the figure for this ‘hidden’ crime is just the tip of the iceberg, due to under-reporting of HBA and harmful practices such as female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced/child marriage, and a lack of understanding about these issues.

Attendees at the ceremony will be invited to tie orange ribbons to railings at the city’s Pier Head as a mark of remembrance for those lost, to signify a brighter future for a world where HBA and harmful practices no longer exist and to symbolise hope for survivors who have made the brave decision to flee and find their new beginning.

Ayo Folarin, a member of the Savera UK Youth Advisory Board (YAB), will also perform poetry written by the organisation’s youth representatives, after a minute’s silence is held to remember those lost to ‘honour’ killings.

After the ceremony, members of the Savera UK team will be available to discuss the charity’s work and the issues it tackles with members of the public.

Speaking ahead of the Day of Memory, Afrah Qassim said: “It is vitally important that we use this day to not just remember those lost to ‘honour’ killings but also those whose lives are or could be affected by ‘honour’-based abuse. HBA is a hidden crime and one that is often forgotten or not afforded the same level of visibility as other forms of abuse or violence. 

“HBA can affect anyone, regardless of background, culture, age, sexuality or gender identity. This is why Savera UK exists – to support those at risk, to educate people around these issues and work toward eradicating harmful practices for good. We remember those lost, we see those who are affected and we will do whatever it takes to help them find their savera, which means ‘new beginning’ in Hindi.”

Afrah recently won the “Women of Courage” award at the Merseyside Women of the Year awards. She was recognised at the annual event for her work establishing the charity and extending the support provided regionally via its one-to-one services and nationally via the charity’s helpline. 

The national Day of Memory is held annually on July 14th to remember those lost to ‘honour’ killings and HBA. The date was Warrington teenager Shafilea Ahmed’s birthday, but in 2003,17-year-old Shafilea was murdered by her parents for refusing a forced marriage and becoming ‘too westernised’, in the eyes of her family and community.

ACC Ngaire Waine of Merseyside Police at Savera UK and Zonta London's Orange the World launch event

Savera UK and Zonta London join for Orange the World Toolkit launch event in Liverpool

ACC Ngaire Waine of Merseyside Police at Savera UK and Zonta London's Orange the World launch event
ACC Ngaire Waine of Merseyside Police at Savera UK and Zonta London’s Orange the World launch event (Image credit: Gary Lambert)

Yesterday (Thursday, 25th November) Savera UK and Zonta London (a member of Zonta International) hosted a launch event to mark the beginning of Orange the World 2021 and 16 Days of activism centred on ending gender-based violence.

At Lovelocks Coffee Shop in Liverpool city centre yesterday we were joined by speakers who discussed why we must tackle violence against women and girls and what can be done to support the organisations doing this work.

Savera UK Chair Aislinn O'Dwyer at Orange the World 2021 launch event
Savera UK Chair Aislinn O’Dwyer (Image credit: Gary Lambert)

Savera UK Chair Aislinn O’Dwyer chaired yesterday’s panel and explained as we start the 16 Days of activism for Orange The World, we want to raise awareness of the fight against gender-based violence and abuse, which includes harmful practices such as forced marriage and child marriage, ‘honour’-based abuse (HBA) and female genital mutilation (FGM).

The Lord Mayor of Liverpool Councillor Mary Rasmussen led a moment of silence for those who have been lost to male violence before discussing sobering statistics including how globally, 137 women each day are killed by a member of their own family. The Lord Mayor urged people to continue working together to raise awareness, and ended her speech by saying “All do what you can. We have got to keep going.”

A member of Savera UK Youth read two moving poems, one titled ‘Honour’ and a second titled ‘A Woman’s Mind’.

Savera UK Founder and CEO Afrah Qassim at the launch event for Orange the World 2021
Savera UK Founder and CEO Afrah Qassim at the launch event for Orange the World 2021 (Image credit: Gary Lambert)

Savera UK Founder and CEO, Afrah Qassim, explained the 16 Days of activism toolkit was this year created in partnership with Zonta London in response to feedback last year from organisations and activists who wanted to get involved but didn’t know how.

Our toolkit centres each day on a theme, with actions people can take to get involved. You can find the Orange the World toolkit here.

Assistant Chief Constable Ngaire Waine of Merseyside Police explained the force receives 250 reports of sexual offences every month and outlined the work the force is doing to tackle gender-based violence. She said the force takes domestic violence “very seriously”.

Unfortunately, Merseyside Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell was unable to attend the event but shared a video message in which she explained the scale of the issues we face, including that every minute the UK police are called to an incident of domestic abuse.

The PCC said: “The reality is that gender-based violence and abuse does not occur in a vacuum. It is part of a society that allows misogyny and patriarchal attitudes to fester that leads to these types of behaviours going unpunished. If we don’t address these daily occurrences of harassment and abuse and call it out for what it is, we will never seriously change things in our society for the better.” You can watch the video message in full here.

Finally, Dianne Jeans of Zonta London discussed the important campaigning their organisation does to raise awareness of issues surrounding gender-based violence. She explained day two of the 16 Days of activism, (Friday 26th November), was themed on envisioning, and asked people to share the futures they envision for women and girls by writing them on tags provided and hanging them on the envisioning tree.

Savera UK was deeply saddened to hear later that same evening two murder investigations were launched following the deaths of 12-year-old Ava White and a 47-year-old woman who has not been named.

The events that happened in Liverpool last night do not reflect the world that we want. The world that we envision – and the one that we will continue to fight to create – is one where all women are free to live and thrive without fear of abuse, violence or death.

Our thoughts remain with the victims’ families at this tragic time.

SAE Liverpool students host fundraiser for Savera UK

Liverpool students support Savera UK with fundraiser gig at The Jacaranda Club

Savera UK is excited to be supported as the chosen charity for a fundraising event taking place in Liverpool.

Students of Music Business at SAE Liverpool have grouped together to create Dead Sound Collective, a live music promotions company, hosting their debut fundraiser in the heart of the city centre.

From 7.30pm on Monday 22nd November in aid of Savera UK there will be a night of poetry, music and spoken word at The Jacaranda Club on Slater Street. All the money raised will go to support survivors of ‘honour’-based abuse (HBA), forced marriage, female genital mutilation (FGM) and other harmful practices.

Thank you to SAE Liverpool students for choosing to support Savera UK
Thank you to SAE Liverpool students for choosing to support Savera UK

Among the line-up are poets Olive and Madelaine Kinsella and musician Aron, whose style is rooted in 80s synth-pop. Singer, songwriter and producer Niki Kand will also perform her “indie-lo fi dream pop” which “offers escapism and provides an insight into the therapeutic world she has constructed for herself”.

Niki, who grew up in Tehran, Iran, said she was heavily influenced by western pop growing up and began expressing herself through music after moving to Kuala Lumpur. Also scheduled to perform is local singer-songwriter Eleanor Nelly, whose sound encompasses country, blues and rock ‘n’ roll, taking influence from My Chemical Romance, The Beatles and Sandi Thom.

About the event, Savera UK founder and CEO Afrah Qassim said: “We’re very thankful to the students for choosing Savera UK as the charity they wish to raise money for. By buying a ticket to this event your money will go directly towards supporting survivors of ‘honour’-based abuse and other harmful practices.”

Megan Gelder, Event Director, said: “Dead Sound Collective goes further than just a university project, we wanted to create a safe space for marginalised individuals, especially with all the crazy stuff the world is experiencing right now.

“No one should feel alone in their hardships and we believe music and poetry are incredibly therapeutic ways to express oneself. With this in mind, we set out to find the perfect organisation to support, and who better to partner with than Savera UK. We were amazed by the work they do and wanted to celebrate this with our local community.”

Savera UK would like to thank Megan, Emil Klaus, Marketing and Finance Executive, Natalie Lloyd, Branding and Venue Styling, Sarah Dubery, Technical and Stage Director and Rakiya Gul, Social Media and Promotions Director.

If you would like to attend you can buy limited-time discounted tickets by clicking here. Tickets will also be available on the night.

Orange The World Toolkit

Savera UK and Zonta Club London Launch “Orange the World 2021” Toolkit

Orange The World Toolkit

Savera UK, a leading charity that tackles culturally-specific abuse such as ‘honour’-based abuse (HBA), forced marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM), has joined forces with Zonta Club London (part of Zonta International) to create an activism toolkit to support the global ‘Orange the World’ campaign.

For the second consecutive year, the two organisations are partnering to raise awareness of gender-based violence and abuse in the UK and around the world. The toolkit provides individuals and organisations with resources and downloadable assets to participate in the UN’s annual 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, which takes place between the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls on 25th November and Human Rights Day on 10th December.

With themes for each day ranging from remembrance, allyship and knowledge, to inclusion, advocacy and action and a bank of resources including social media assets, links to local and national charities and support services and a calendar of local events, the organisations hope that the toolkit will encourage and make it easier for even more people to engage with the campaign later this month.

Both charities highlight that this year’s campaign is more vital than ever, as violence against women remains devastatingly pervasive in our society. In the 28 weeks following the kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard on 3rd March this year, 81 other women were killed in circumstances where the suspect is a man. A recently-released government survey also found that 97% of 18–24 year-old women have been sexually harassed, while 80% of all women have been sexually harassed in public.

Savera UK CEO and Founder, Afrah Qassim, said: “The statistics about gender-based violence are shocking yet, sadly, no longer surprising. Across their lifetime, 1 in 3 women – around 736 million – will be subjected to physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner or sexual violence from a non-partner. This figure has remained largely unchanged over the last 10 years.

“It has never been more important for people to take action against gender-based violence. However, last year, we realised that people wanted to engage and support the Orange the World campaign, but didn’t always know how to or perhaps couldn’t find the resources they needed.

“Our Orange the World 2021 toolkit is a starting point for people. A place where they can find information and ideas for ways that they can take action to tackle gender-based violence and abuse. We have worked with our partners, Zonta Club London, Liverpool City Council and a range of other city partners to highlight the work being done in the city region and beyond and how people can get involved.

“Activism takes many forms and even the smallest steps, such as learning about certain forms of gender-based abuse or identifying yourself as an ally can have an enormous impact.”

Zonta Club London President, Anne-Li Stjernholm, said: “As organisations Savera UK and Zonta Club London are very much aligned on our aim to promote a world without violence against women and girls and this partnership is very valuable for us. We hope it will last for many years to come and that we can expand our reach. Speaking with one voice makes our message so much stronger.”

Zonta International and Zonta Foundation for Women President, Sharon Langenbeck, added: “As the world faces the COVID-19 pandemic, instances of gender-based violence are on the rise. Now, more than ever, it is essential that we work together to end violence against women and girls.

“Through the Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women campaign, Zonta clubs around the world are uniting to raise their voices to bring awareness to this issue and advocate on behalf of gender-based violence survivors.”

As part of the campaign, civic buildings and iconic landmarks across the Liverpool City Region and beyond will also once again illuminate orange as part of the campaign, to highlight the issue of gender-based violence/abuse and as a symbol of hope for a future without fear of abuse or harassment for women and girls.

Last year, partners in the city region united to illuminate civic buildings and iconic landmarks including Liverpool Town Hall, Cunard Building, St George’s Hall, World Museum in Liverpool, Greystone Footbridge in Knowsley, the Mersey Gateway Bridge in Halton and Merseyside Police Headquarters, while Premier League football team, Everton FC, also lit Goodison Park stadium in solidarity with the campaign.

The Orange the World campaign takes place between Thursday 25th November 2021 and 10th December 2021. To download the toolkit and see how you can get involved, download the PDF from www.saverauk.co.uk/orange-the-world-2021/