I was on my way to the heart of Bethnal Green, in East London, via the Central line Underground. Pleasantly, I overheard a couple next to me discussing why they were heading to TEDx East End, which happened to be where I was headed. They said how they "needed some inspiration...some exposure to creative minds...and to be inspired."
I want to say a massive thank you to all of you who supported our epetition and helped us reach over 100,000 signatures. The great British public stood with survivors and recognized the importance of this campaign. You have spoken out to say that FGM is child abuse and one of the worst forms of violence against women and you have asked the Government to put an end to it.
I tried an experiment when I took to the stage to give a talk on "failing to relate authentically" at this year's TEDxBristol. After walking on boldly (or as boldly as my nerves would allow), I spent the first minute or so telling the audience about my various accomplishments. Then I stopped. I walked off, re-entered and started again...
I know that one person cannot change the world. But if other graduating students follow my lead and pledge their graduation presents to charity, we can truly make a difference. If we look deep inside our hearts, I'm sure most of us will realize we do not necessarily need the tokens of appreciation brought by our families.
From YouTube to universities all over the UK, TEDx events (x= independently organised event) have heightened in popularity amongst British students in recent years. The American organisation, TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) has expanded its scope through the launch of the TED Talk Video site, making TED and TEDx talks accessible to all.
This year we decided to spray shoes with a red 'x' and leave them dotted about the city, tied to lampposts and left on college walls. Some of them directed you to a café where you could get a free cup of coffee or a scoop of ice cream with it, and five carried a free ticket; others simply bore messages like 'I'm a free shoe enjoy!'