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Asian Women's Shelter and Sahiyo: Supporting Asian Survivors of FGMC

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Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $300,000)

Asian Women’s Shelter (AWS) and subgrantees Sahiyo, StoryCenter and Joanna Vergoth, LCSW, are applying for an OVC Addressing Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) award of $300,000 for a 36-month period to expand the Voices to End FGM/C intervention. Voices to End FGM/C provides safe, confidential, and culturally responsive services to FGM/C survivors,  community education to FGM/C impacted communities, and training to healthcare workers and other personnel encountering survivors, with a focus on Asian and Arab communities that are widely and wrongly assumed to be unaffected by FGM/C. 

AWS, a San Francisco-based organization, has been a leader for 33 years partnering with immigrant, refugee, and U.S.-born Asian and Arab women and children survivors of gender-based violence. Subgrantee, Sahiyo U.S., named one of six inspiring organizations working to end FGM/C by Population Reference Bureau, has created education and outreach programming on FGM/C, focusing on serving U.S. South Asian communities. Subgrantee StoryCenter has worked with AWS since 2005 and with Sahiyo since 2015 to offer survivors of trauma a creative digital storytelling intervention to reduce isolation, increase empowerment, and affect cultural change. Joanna Vergoth, LCSW, national expert in mental health services for survivors of FGM/C, will be the clinical liaison to survivor support activites. Voices to End FGM/C partners will:

Provide trauma-informed digital storytelling interventions to Asian and other survivors of FGMC to break isolation, support survivor sense-making, and empower survivors to craft  personal messages for cultural change.

Offer additional trained, confidential, culturally relevant supportive services to survivors, including online support groups, crisis line response, and case management if requested. 

Expand awareness in communities impacted by FGM/C of harms of FGM/C by screening stories and providing Storyteller Empowerment Sessions to do safety planning addressing survivor risks of speaking against FGM/C in one’s community. 

Increase quality of care by training healthcare and gender-based violence professionals, and other personnel interfacing with survivors. 

Boost social awareness of FGM/C through a survivor-driven dissemination plan for stories and related social media campaign. 

Year 1’s intervention focuses on California; Year 2 creates a nationwide cohort of storytellers through a virtual workshop for survivors unable to travel; Year 3 focuses on New York. AWS is confident that the proposed project for FGM/C survivors will fill gaps in service provision and contribute meaningfully to an end of FGM/C.

Date Created: September 21, 2021