Tag: Steve Biko Awards

Savera UK Founder and CEO, Afrah Qassim

Savera UK CEO reflects on 2022 and remembers those lost to ‘honour’-based abuse

As we come to the final weeks of 2022, I would like to take this opportunity to reflect on what Savera UK has achieved in the past year. It feels as though it was only last week when we celebrated the start of 2022, while at the same time it’s been a long year with plenty of progress made. I’m so proud of the work we have achieved, despite facing challenges along the way as I’m sure is a similar story for many of you. I first want to congratulate and thank the Savera UK team for their endless commitment and passion to Savera UK. I would also like to thank the Savera UK Board, Advisory Board and Youth Advisory Board for their amazing support and commitment. Our funders and supporters, who are key in helping us end ‘honour’-based abuse (HBA) and harmful practices. Without your involvement and support, we would not have been able to accomplish so much in the last year – thank you.

This year Savera UK Youth conducted fantastic awareness-raising work including relaunching the #ENDFGM Exhibition in partnership with the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool as part of International Day for Zero Tolerance of Female Genital Mutilation and releasing their educational film ‘Orange Brick Road’ as part of UK Parliament Week. Alongside the video, Savera UK Youth created an education pack including activities to help teachers and those working with young people guide discussions on harmful practices.

Savera UK one-to-one direct intervention team has provided advocacy and support to many of our clients and also delivered empowerment activities including self-confidence building, dance and self-defence classes. It has also provided wellbeing support through weekly drop-in sessions and provided emotional and financial support through the Smallwood Community Grant.

This year Savera UK’s work was also recognised in the Third Sector Awards, for which we were nominated in the ‘Small Charity, Big Achiever’ category. I am incredibly grateful to those who nominated me for the Merseyside Women of the Year Awards 2022, and I was overwhelmed to be awarded the Woman of Courage Award sponsored by Courage and Sparkle. Liverpool-based Savera UK Youth members were also recognised in the Steve Biko Awards, for their diligent work raising awareness of harmful practices during the pandemic.

Earlier this year I was invited to join The Queen Consort at a reception at Buckingham Palace to mark International Elimination of Violence Against Women Day. While there I was able to discuss the important work our team does to safeguard and advocate on behalf of people at risk of HBA and harmful practices. We also published our first research paper talking about HBA ‘A descriptive study of survivors, perpetrators and abuse characteristics’, which you can read here.

My personal highlight of the year was the launch of Savera UK’s ‘5k to End HBA’ fundraising campaign, which was launched with a march through Liverpool city centre to shine a light on HBA and stand in solidarity with survivors.

We are very proud had the opportunity to take part in the Pilotlight programme, which allowed us to focus on our strategic plan and future development. The partnership encouraged me and the Savera UK Board to challenge ourselves and to consider the organisation’s challenges. Thank you to all the Pilotlighters we worked with. We are delighted to end the year in announcing our new and exciting partnership with Cheshire Police and Crime Commissioner.

Once again, thank you for all your continued support and believing in Savera UK and the work we do.

I ask for us all during the festive season, to reflect and think of all those whose have lost their loved ones, and those who are still living and at risk of HBA and struggling to ask for help.

Afrah Qassim,

CEO and Founder of Savera UK