Songs for Our Sisters: Hackney concert against FGM

Songs for Our Sisters, The Russet

Songs for Our Sisters, The Russet. Pic: courtesy of Tanzanian Development Trust.

A concert to raise funds to help young girls at risk of female genital mutilation in Tanzania is to be held in Hackney this Friday.

The Songs for Our Sisters event at the Russet café and creative space in Hackney hopes to raise £2,000 to build a safe house in the remote area of Mara, Tanzania.

Organised by the Tanzania Development Trust, Songs for Our Sisters will showcase local Hackney musicians, many with ties to Tanzania, including Freddie Macha, a Tanzanian singer/songwriter whose work deals with FGM issues, Sokushumba, a Zimbabwean traditional African duo, the Hackney Community Choir and a variety of other musical acts and DJs, along with a spread of Tanzanian food.

Global Giving UK will kick start an additional funding campaign if the TDT raises £2,000.

The Trust was established in 1975, with volunteers working with Tanzanian communities to provide fresh water, schools and youth centres.

The safe house is the trust’s “largest ever project” and provides education on the health risks of FGM by supporting health and social workers

It will not only house young women, but provide education on the health risks of female genital mutilation,  supporting health and social workers.

Janet Chapman, Event Organiser and Communications Development Officer at the TDT explained the importance of the event in relation to the area:

“It’s a human rights issue for all of us, it isn’t just an issue that happens in Tanzania, there are a lot of problems recently with FGM in the UK. I think it’s something everybody needs to be aware of…We should stand in solidarity with our sisters in Tanzania ”

Last year Hackney hosted the the “Working Together to End FGM conference” organised by Amnesty International, which was attended by public health minister Jane Ellison

Earlier this year two doctors from Whittington Hospital in North London were charged under the UK’s Female Genital Mutilation Act, the first prosecution of this kind in the UK.

Chapman explains that while the mission of the event is “to raise consciousness” about FGM and to make better contacts with the local community, as well as celebrating Tanzanian culture by sharing music, food and dance.

Songs for Our Sisters takes place Friday, May 30, at The Russet, 6-11:30pm.

Tickets are £6 on the door, with all proceeds going directly to the FGM safe house project.

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