Keep the Drums, Lose the Knife
1114. Sarian Karim-Kamara
Sarian Karim-Kamara, from London, is a leading campaigner and activist who works to end the practice of female genital mutilation.
Sarian underwent FGM as a child in Sierra Leone and she has spoken bravely and openly about her own traumatic experiences to educate professionals and communities. In 2017, she founded ‘Keep the Drums, Lose the Knife’, to coordinate efforts to address FGM amongst the Sierra Leone community in the UK and abroad. She runs educational workshops for professionals and communities; and weekly support groups for survivors of FGM. Four years ago, she self-funded various trips to Sierra Leone running empowering and educational workshops with young people and working with the community to develop an alternative rite of passage to replace the cutting tradition. Sarian has also collaborated with the Home Office since 2014 and she regularly attends meetings and takes part in communication campaigns.
Sarian received her award at the West Midlands Police conference held in Birmingham, where she spoke about her work.
In a personal letter to Sarian, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“Female genital mutilation is an abhorrent crime against women and girls and you have shown incredible bravery in speaking out about your own experience. In doing so, you are inspiring and helping other survivors and ensuring open dialogue about this issue. Your work in the UK and Sierra Leone is invaluable in educating young people about this barbaric practice and I wish you every success as you continue your campaign.”
“I wholeheartedly accept this award as an acknowledgement of all the hard work we have done as campaigners to tackle this horrific crime against Women and Girls in the Baul and across the world. We will not tolerate FGM in our communities and we will not rest until perpetrators of this horrific practice are brought to justice.”