Cath Holland is a midwife living in Grange-over-Sands and through her time in Kenya doing VSO training midwives observed the adverse consequences of female genital mutilation ( FGM) on women during childbirth. She founded the charity Beyond FGM which works in rural Kenya in the Pokot region where this practice is illegal but carried out frequently . Cath and her team educate the traditional birth attendants, women and girls about the consequences of FGM and also educate the men , both elders and the young men.
FGM is associated with traditional “rites of passage” ceremonies with gifts, and to help girls resist this mutilation and alter attitudes in their communities, a course and an “alternative rite of passage” ceremony has been devised which does not involve cutting. Instead of the traditional gifts a woven embroidered bracelet is given to each girl. To assist Cath with her work, and to show support and solidarity with these girls, members of SI Grange-over-Sands together with members of Lancaster club learned how to make these bracelets. Member Chris Butler has made thousands of bracelets since 2012.
FGM is performed illegally in the UK and continues and only one prosecution have ever been successful.