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Valuable lessons from a big change-maker

Julia Lalla-Maharajh, founder of Orchid Project, a charity striving to help communities abandon Female Genital Cutting, tells Ali Roff what she’s discovered in her quest to forge empowering change for women

Lession one

Dream big

I discovered the scale of Female Genital Cutting (FGC) when I volunteered in Ethiopia. My first reaction was to look away because I was challenged.

It was so difficult: how do you talk about other women’s genitals? How do you even begin to shift a taboo when you can’t talk about it? I had a ‘Road to Damascus’ moment when I met two little girls, and wanted to save them from being cut by o.ering to pay for their education. But I realised that I couldn’t do that, I had no right. The only thing I could do was make a vow to try to bring about change.

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About Psychologies

What happens when you don’t like what you see in the world? Our dossier gives you the low-down on what you can do to step up and make the world a better place - be it making small changes in your community to founding a charity that will make a massive impact on the world. We also invite you to lighten up and have some fun this month. Katy Regan signs up to a comedy improvisation workshop – with surprising results. Suzy Bashford channels her inner punk and delights in swearing more and caring less what other people think. Still in need of some laughs? Meet Emma Stroud, Psychologies ‘clown in residence’, who must be the first person to conduct a TED talk dressed as a banana. It’s going to be an interesting month!

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