27 JUN 2016

Maidstone's Premium Vegan Eatery hosts Amnesty International Fundraiser

Local MP helps promote campaign against FGM and forced early marriage

Helen Grant MP with Chipo Kamntanda, Victoria Gascoine, Carol Infanti (Regional President Elect) and Janet Hughes, Maidstone Club of Soroptimist International

Helen Grant, MP for Maidstone & The Weald, has attended a special fundraising and awareness event at Maidstone's first Vegan eatery; the Fortify Café in the High Street.

The event was part of a nationwide campaign to protect thousands of 10 and 11 year-old girls in Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone from being forced to marry men who might be old enough to be their grandfathers. To 'prepare' them for womanhood they also face having their genitals cut – the process known as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

The event was jointly hosted by the The Maidstone & Swale Group of Amnesty International and the Maidstone Club of Soroptimist International on Thursday 16 June.

They said 'The governments of the two countries are committed to ending child marriage and FGM, but these practices remain deeply embedded in local traditions. But, through a grassroots movement, young girls and others are standing up for girls' rights and Human Rights Education programmes have already helped to drive forward change in dozens of communities'.

Helen said 'It was a pleasure to meet and talk with local members of Amnesty International (AI) and the Soroptimist Club. The work they do is so vital to the future well-being of these African women and girls. This campaign is one I support both personally, in Parliament and within my work as a member of the International Development select committee. The £200 raised on the night was matched by the Government, meaning over £400 was actually raised for the campaign. Any donations made before July 18th will also receive matched government funding – to give please go http://bit.ly/1T5AkjW

'I'd also strongly recommend Fortify Café to anyone – vegan or omnivorous - wanting a sample of Maidstone's best home-cooked food in a lovely relaxed and comfy setting www.fortifycafe.co.uk.'

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