The Arrigo Programme also supports Siddhartha Foundation in Nepal, which provides hands-on care, education and practical support for children.

Its approach very much chimes with the philosophies of nurture, healing and transformation that underpin The Arrigo Programme itself. The Siddhartha Foundation draws its inspiration from the teachings of love and kindness that are at the heart of all the world’s religions and faiths. The Siddhartha Foundation School, located in the beautiful Pandit Valley about 10 miles from Kathmandu, brings a ray of hope and light to all those fortunate enough to get a place there. All the students – who are training to become Buddhist monks – come from extremely poor backgrounds where even basic healthcare and education are not available to them. The school takes care of all the pupils’ needs – from food and clothing to medical care, fees and the cost of their educational materials. Many of the students are orphans for whom the school provides an environment of love, care and security, teaching the power of prayer for the next generation.

The first students were admitted into the school in 2005, as phase one of the building plans were completed. Our interest is in supporting Lama Khenpo Chimed Rinpoche, the founder and director, who is highly respected throughout the country for the wonderful work he does with the children and the orphanage.

For more information about the Siddharta Foundation and to find out how you can make a difference to its work by sending clothes, food or vitamins, or volunteering, please click on this link

The Arrigo Programme is proud to support the charity 28 Too Many

In 2005 Dr Ann- Marie Wilson, founder and Executive Director of 28 Too Many, was working in West Darfur, Sudan with an international aid organisation Medair, providing humanitarian relief to people affected by the conflict raging through the region. During this time, Ann-Marie met many people who had been forced to endure unimaginable horror but it was the story of Fatima, who was only 11 years old that acted as the catalyst for Ann-Marie to set up 28 Too Many, a charity that aims to end female genital mutilation (FGM).

As was the tradition in her family, Fatima underwent FGM at the age of five. FGM involves the cutting and partial or total removal of the external genitals. It causes physical and emotional harm and can cause death, usually from blood loss or infection. In addition it can lead to a wide variety of pre and post labour complications, including fistula, obstructed labour, excessive bleeding and tearing as well as infection.

At the age of ten, Fatima’s village was attacked, her family killed and she was raped by the Janjaweed militia who destroyed her life and her home. As a result of the attack she fell pregnant and when the time came for the baby to be born, Fatima had an obstructed labour as a result of FGM she had undergone. The aid workers who found this terrified child were thankfully able to transport her to a medical centre in time and as a result of skilled work by the doctors and nurses who attended her both the young mother and her baby survived. However many other girls and women in similar situations do not have access to adequate medical care at the time of labour and will die as a result of FGM related complications.

Ann-Marie was shocked by Fatima’s story and that so many people were not even aware of FGM and that it affects more than 3 million girls and women worldwide each year. FGM is carried out on girls who are unable to defend themselves; it only takes a few minutes but the repercussions will be felt for a lifetime. Ann-Marie vowed to work to make sure that girls like Fatima receive support to rebuild their lives and also to research and campaign to ensure FGM ends. Now 10 years on from that fateful meeting, Ann-Marie runs a thriving charity with a dedicated team of trustees, volunteers, supporters and partners who have come to work together to work to end FGM from different countries, backgrounds and faiths. 28 Too Many works to share information and collaborate with all who share a vision where every girl and woman is safe, healthy and lives free from FGM.

28 Too Many has an ambitious research strategy and has published detailed reports on FGM in seven African countries; Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Mali and Liberia. In addition it undertakes specific research projects such as the role of the church in tackling FGM and the impact of conflict/emergency situations on FGM. All its research is available as free resources on the charity’s website. 28 Too Many also works with governments, international organisations and other policy makers to advocate for the end of FGM and to ensure there is international and national support and funds for work to end the practice and support survivors. At local level 28 Too Many is building up contacts and networks across Africa to support local actions against FGM. Ann-Marie and her team have visited and worked in more than 10 countries during 2014. They are committed to partnering with those who are working within their communities to end FGM. It is by addressing the social norms which hold the practice in place that attitudes will change and that there will be a lasting change to stop FGM.

With her deep concern and interest in women's health and well being, Fiona has received the honour of being made an Ambassador with 28 Too Many, forming a partnership to donate from profits and support their work to end female genital mutilation (FGM).

For more information about 28 Too Many, to learn how you can support their work and to find out how you can join the growing global movement to end FGM please click on this link