It was a special honour for Londoner Leyla Hussein to be recognised at an award ceremony in her home London Borough of Waltham Forest in front of Local Councillors and invited guests including children from local schools.
Leyla was granted the Freedom of the Borough in recognition of her human rights work and in particular her support for women and girls who have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM). This is the highest award a council can bestow and is only rarely granted to people who have made a great contribution.
The council also recognised anti-FGM campaigner Hibo Wardere who received her award alongside Leyla. Hibo underwent FGM as a child in Somalia and moved to London as a teenager. Now a mother of seven and whose daughters will never be cut, she is a passionate advocate against FGM and has written a book about her experiences.