TV and Radio Presenter Maya Jama will kick off her role as Ambassador for Savera UK – a charity working to save those at risk from incidents of domestic abuse and the harmful practices of honour-based abuse, forced marriage and female genital mutilation – when she appears at the charity’s national Youth Conference today
The Savera Youth Conference is being developed with a voluntary team of young people between the ages of 13 and 21 years old. Maya will speak and join a panel discussion alongside expert voices on the day, including Savera UK Patron Nazir Afzal, Merseyside’s Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Cllr Emily Spurrell, local councillors, community members and education and health representatives.
The event, which takes place during UK Parliament Week, has allowed the organisation’s young people to take the lead in developing and delivering the conference. As part of this, they are also creating a film to specifically address harmful practices and certain issues that they think are important to them. The conference will also feature a live Q&A panel, which will be chaired by the young people.
In a stellar 12 months for Maya that has seen her join the Radio 1 family, become the youngest presenter of the MOBO awards and receive recognition as a prestigious influencer by the Evening Standard’s ‘The Progress 1000’ list, Savera UK are thrilled to welcome her into the charity. Displaying an obvious passion and a clear dedication to making a difference, she is able to draw on her own experiences of growing up and the opportunity she had to break away and build her own future.
Savera UK is growing rapidly, and has also had an incredible year, hosting the annual International FGM zero tolerance day, and their third National Memorial Day Conference, supported by Liverpool Arab Art Festival, Being commissioned by Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy to deliver a new support service for those subject to “hidden” harmful practices, and being named by Elle Magazine as one of the incredible women’s charities to support in 2018.
Maya – who is of Swedish/Somali descent - has an upbringing from a traditional Somali background and has witnessed the impact of the harmful practices and traditions that are sadly sometimes identified as an acceptable part of some cultures. Working with Savera UK she is committed to using her position to speak particularly to young women, highlighting the dangers they could face and the options that are available to them.
Maya said: “working with Savera UK presents an opportunity to raise awareness within young women who might not understand there is always another way. I am very passionate to use my voice to get the message out there and thrilled that I am able to become an ambassador for such a fantastic charity doing amazing work."
Founder and Chair of Savera UK Afrah Qassim said: “We are absolutely thrilled to welcome Maya into the Savera UK family. Maya understands these issues well and the work Savera UK is dedicated to providing. By telling her story, speaking out and using her profile, Maya and Savera UK will be able to reach many young people and communities. Together we want to let young people know that although their life may be full of obstacles, we should never let these obstacles define who we are or let someone else chose our path. Let the choice be our own.”
Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, Cllr Emily Spurrell said: “We’re delighted to be working with Savera UK to deliver this important service raising awareness of harmful practices and protecting and supporting victims and potential victims.
“Sadly, harmful practices are still very much a hidden crime. They are also significantly under-reported. We know that there may be only one chance, one window of opportunity, to reach out and save a person who may be in harm’s way. If we don’t, that person may walk out the door and, in the very worst of cases, may never be seen again.
“That’s why it is essential that we do everything possible to increase understanding and knowledge of these issues and let victims and potential victims know that there are people who can help, people who understand what they are going through. It’s fantastic that Maya has joined Savera UK to help to get that vital message out to even more young people.”
Find out more about Savera UK here.