Fundraiser to help teen at risk of deportation from Rochdale – facing female genital mutilation in Nigeria

Danielle Wainwright

A fundraiser to support a teenager’s plight to remain in the UK and avoid the horrors of female genital mutilation (FGM) will be jointly held in Rochdale on Sunday by The National Union of Teachers and human rights organisation RAPAR.

MM previously reported here that Olayinka Olatunde, 16, her mum Abiola and two brothers fled from Nigeria following forced attempts to make her undergo FGM, a cultural tradition within her father’s family.

After her mother’s first child died 21 years ago from the effects of FGM, the family settled in Manchester and claimed asylum, but the threats became greater in 2010 when Olayinka’s father passed away and after her claim for asylum was rejected in June and July, the suffering schoolgirl attempted to take her own life.

Olayinka’s psychologist explained: “This psychological distress will remain high unless the physical threat to her safety is addressed.

“There are significant clinical risks to Olayinka if the family are forced to return to Nigeria.”

Health workers as well as teachers are backing the campaign by Olayinka and her family to remain in the UK. Their fight is also supported by a group of Nigerian men living in this country who are strongly opposed to FGM.

RAPAR, have campaigned for the family since September and have offered their unwavering support for their cause offering a range of help including counselling and medical services.

Nick Wigmore, Rochdale NUT Secretary and representative on the Union’s National Executive Council, said: “We must ensure that we do everything we can to protect the children in our community and ensure they are protected from physical and psychological harm, wherever that threat lies.

“Olayinka must be protected from FGM and we must act collectively to demonstrate opposition to her deportation.”

The event on August 18 will include music, entertainment, refreshments, a bouncy castle, face-painting and other children’s activities, with money from the event going toward Olayinka’s legal costs as well as publicising the campaign and raising awareness about the issues relating her case. 

The fundraiser will run from 11am-4pm at The Hub, 21 Whitehall Street, Falinge, Rochdale.

For more information, and to pledge your support for Olayinka, click here.

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