Campaigner tackling gender-based violence through humor and frankness with a touch of therapy
Leyla Hussein Co-Founded or Daughters Of Eve which is a non profit organisation set up in 2010 which works to protect girls and young women who are at risk from female genital mutilation (FGM). She is also Chief Executive of Hawa’s Haven which is a collective of Somali women campaigners and community activists who have come together to raise awareness about gender based violence particularly in Somali communities in the UK and the horn of Africa .She is also the newly appointed Community facilitator at Manor Gardens and recently completed a 1 hour documentary film with channel 4 “ The Cruel Cut” on FGM in the UK.
Leyla Hussein has over 11 years of experience in working with women/girls who have undergone Female Genital Mutilation, she has a background as a youth outreach worker and recently has been working as an Independent Training Consultant specialised in FGM. She works now as community facilitator at Manor garden Health advocacy Project and partnered with Maya center, to set up set up a support therapy group for FGM survivors “Dahlia’s Project”, the only existing group in the entire EU. Leyla sits on the trustee board for The Special FGM Initiative Advisory Group and Naz Project London.
Leyla is a qualified psychotherapist and she has recently started working as a Counsellor supporting survivors of sexual violence and other vulnerable children and adults. She practices at a local school.
Leyla Hussein has completed her Post Grad diploma in Psychotherapy in 2010. Currently named for BBC 100 women of 2013.She has been awarded Cosmopolitan Ultimate campaigner Women of the Year Award 2010, in 2011 she won the Emma Humphrey Award ,The Lin Groves Special Award for her work in raising awareness of violence against women and children. Also awarded the 2012 True Honour Award “by the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Right organisation for recognising her work on preventing honour based violence, protecting victims/survivors and bringing perpetrators to justice
She works closely with the Young Africans and Friends (YAF) group, formed by youth working together to tackle issues that are considered taboo in African communities such as HIV/AIDS and female genital mutilation.
In 2005, as part of the Somali youth forum (SYF) Leyla organised a massive conference that gathered over 400 people as a response to the backlash against Somalis in the UK following the devastation of the London bombings. As young British people of Somali origin, the SYF wanted to portray a more positive image of their community and showcase the talent and contributions of young Somalis.
Leyla Hussein is very passionate about supporting young people and strengthening their voices. Her achievements include:
She runs saviour groups for women/girls who have undergone female genital mutilation ( Dahlia’s Project).
Due to her work with young people, Leyla has been awarded the Ambassador for Peace Prize by the Inter-religious and International Peace Federation. Ambassadors for Peace are individuals who dedicate themselves to promoting universal moral values, strong family life, inter-religious cooperation, international harmony, renewal of the United Nations, responsible mass media, and the establishment of a global culture of peace.
She was invited to Downing Street twice by Mr and Mrs Cameron to take part in International Women ‘s Day alongside high profile British women
Leyla Hussein has spoken at many national/international conferences.
She works very closely with the Metropolitan Police (Project Azure).
In July 2008 she won the Primary Care Trut , “The breaking down barriers award”.
L. H. acts as advisor of the END FGM - European campaign which is supported by Amnesty International, Ireland.
As a strong voice of END FGM - European campaign, she has spoken at the houses of parliament of Vienna, Cyprus and London.
L. H. has been invited to speak on Somali issues on several local, national and international television and radio news programmes including the BBC world radio service, World has your say, BBC Today and Five Live, Universal TV (Somali TV), Channel 5, Al Jazzeera, Islamic channel, BBC 24 and took part in a dispatches documentary on refugees and asylum seekers in the UK.
Featured on a glossy ”Look” and Cosmopolitan magazine and National/local Guardian.
L. H. has visited Senegal (Dakar) as a UK leader on an Interaction Leadership Programme which is an innovative programme of learning, great conversations and action in leadership by committed people of all ages who are passionate about Africa and leadership.
L.H. also sits on the committee Board for Naz Project London organisation and The FGM imitative advisory board UK.