“We would be foolish to think Female Genital Mutilation [FGM] is not happening here. We’re a very diverse borough that has people from practising communities living here.”
These are the stark words of Natalie Smith, the education director of Dagenham’s Arc Theatre, which helps pupils lead peer discussions on FGM.
Its trailblazing female empowerment scheme, which aims to tackle the subject head-on to improve confidence in girls from Year 7 upwards, was among the borough’s FGM-tackling efforts featured in BBC Three documentary Stop Cutting Our Girls.
The Comic Relief funded programme, which aired earlier this month, showed Fresh Meat star Zawe Ashton visit Eastbury Comprehensive School in Barking to see Arc Theatre’s Raised Voices group lead a presentation.