In 2016, Mariya created her a digital story about experiencing Female Genital Cutting (FGC) and advocating against it. Afterwards, she fund raised to create a workshop where more survivors and advocates working to end FGC, could also create digital stories. Sahiyo Stories brought together nine women from across the United States to create personalized digital stories that narrate experiences of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C).
For centuries, women have been afraid to speak up about FGM/C, for fear of being ostracized from their communities, being labelled as victims, getting loved ones in trouble, etc. These nine women, who differ in race/ethnicity, age, and citizenship/residency status, each shared a story addressing a different challenge with FGM/C. Some women who had only recently discovered they had undergone FGM/C were grappling with its emotional and physical impacts, while others were invested in advocacy to prevent it from happening to more girls. We are planning online and in-person screenings across the U.S.– the collection is woven together with a united sentiment and a joint hope that the videos will build a critical mass of voices from within FGM/C - practising communities, calling for the harmful practice’s abandonment.
Our hope is to expand this project globally, and we are currently seeking partnerships and funding opportunities in order to do so.