The Year in Review

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As we come to the end of another year, we want to reflect back on our work and accomplishments that have shaped an extraordinary year.  

In 2018, SafeHands celebrated its achievements over the past 15 years. From 2003 - 2018, we brought 25 films about women’s reproductive health to 20 countries and 200 under-served communities in Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas. We encouraged audiences to take action to improve reproductive health and sparked change for women around the world.

Breaking the Cycle

This year, our Breaking the Cycle series continues to examine menstrual taboos, stigmas, and challenges women and girls face during their periods from different corners of the world.  

In Restoring Dignity: One Period  at A Time, we meet student Shontel in South Carolina, America, who – like many girls her age and in her area – struggles to pay for menstrual products during her period. The Homeless Period Project ensures girls like Shontel do not have to make the difficult decision to eat or afford tampons.

Hibo’s Story  is a harrowing personal account of anti-FGM campaigner and survivor, Hibo Wardere, who underwent Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) at the age of six  while her mother looked on. Today, she is one of Britain’s foremost anti-FGM campaigners and works to give voice to the 200 million women worldwide who have been cut.  

In our newest film, From Rags to Cups Pendeza and Alfonsina tell how they fled their home countries due to violence and instability and faced serious challenges when it came to their periods. Today, they live in Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Malawi, where Plan Malawi provides critical access to sanitary pads. Malawi Girl Guides educate women like Pendeza and Alfonsina on the benefits of a menstrual cup - a sustainable, reusable, safe alternative to pads and tampons.

 

Your support  

Comedian, Susan Murray, hosted a comedy show to raise money for SafeHands on International Women’s Day

Comedian, Susan Murray, hosted a comedy show to raise money for SafeHands on International Women’s Day

Together, your support means that we can do what we do best – make films that spark change around the world. We know the impact stories -  like Alfonsia in From Rags to Cups and Shontel in Restoring Dignity – can make to imagining solutions for better reproductive health.  

Supporters like you raised vital funds for our work. Tamara Gates fundraised through a Champagne Tasting with friends. And a comedy gig on International Women’s Day, hosted by comedian, Susan Murray, recognised the need to end FGM now. A big thank you our amazing fundraisers.  

In July and October, we mingle with the stars at events, hosted with HELLO! magazine, to encourage new talent to our cause.  

Our team took on personal challenges to support the work of SafeHands. From swimming the Serpentine to trekking to Everest Base Camp, the team challenged ourselves to Go the Distance to raise awareness for better maternity care. Our challenges were tough, and your support was essential in keeping us moving forward!

 

 Our Team 

The Safehands Team: (Left to Right) Colleen Keating, former intern, Paige Rogers, Communication & Production Adviser, Hibo Wardere, Ambassador, Nancy Durrell McKenna, Founder Director, Erica Belanger, Assistant Director - Development, Amal Ali, former intern, Debbie Manners, Chair of the Board of Trustees, Mohsen Zarei-Keseh, Creative Digital Expert

The Safehands Team: (Left to Right) Colleen Keating, former intern, Paige Rogers, Communication & Production Adviser, Hibo Wardere, Ambassador, Nancy Durrell McKenna, Founder Director, Erica Belanger, Assistant Director - Development, Amal Ali, former intern, Debbie Manners, Chair of the Board of Trustees, Mohsen Zarei-Keseh, Creative Digital Expert

Our team grew in 2018. 

SafeHands has two new employees, Erica Belanger, Assistant Director - Development, and Paige Rogers, Communication & Production Adviser, who extend the capacity and talent of SafeHands, along with interns Amal Ali, Colleen Keating, and Shay Howard.

   

 

New Patrons and Ambassadors

Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, Head of Maternity, Children, and Young People for NHS England joins us as our new Patron. Her experience and influence in national and international healthcare are crucial to our work.  

Anti-FGM Campaigner, Hibo Wardere, and HELLO! Magazine Editor-in-Chief, Rosie Nixon are spreading the message about the importance of women’s reproductive health matters to new audiences as our Ambassadors.   

 

Our 2019 Resolutions 

2018 has been a fantastic year, and we look forward to 2019. Over the next year, we will remain committed to the women and their families, and communities with whom we work. Women like Pendeza, from the Congo, who tells her story in our film From Rags to Cups, who inspire us to be resilient and look forward to the future. In 2019, we will:  

  • Address taboos and challenges of menstruation here in the UK with a new campaign called It’s A Menstrual Cup

  • Shoot a film about the value of Maternity Waiting Homes for pregnant women in Amhara, Ethiopia

  • Work with London-based teachers and schools to keep girls safe in education and ensure they are protected from the abusive practice of FGM 

  • Extend the story of our impact and how our films have been used to spark changes for women around the world 

2019 will be the best year yet.

Thank you!  

Nancy Durell Mckenna