Julia Lalla-Maharajh traveled to Ethiopia in 2009 on a volunteer project, where she encountered many girls and women whose lives were impacted by the practice of female genital cutting. She returned home resolved to advocate for an end to the practice, and participated in the YouTube Davos Debates in January 2010.
Julia won the debate by popular vote, and YouTube brought Julia to Davos, Switzerland to attend the World Economic Forum, where she had the opportunity to speak with world leaders about the issue – including a brief conversation with Bill Clinton. Returning again to London, Julia founded Orchid Project, which gained official UK charitable status in spring of 2011.
support from bijou
Bijou began working with Orchid Project in the first few months of the organization’s formation. Early consulting activities included guidance with selecting the right website developer and CRM system, and designing their email newsletter template.
In 2012, Bijou designed a series of infographics that Orchid Project used as an educational tool in a variety of forums. The infographics were shared widely online, including in tweets by Tostan, GirlsGlobe and UNICEF. The infographics were also turned into display boards to supplement advocacy work, and were used in a presentation at the House of Lords.
Bijou also assisted Orchid Project’s Ruthie Taylor to submit a speaking proposal to SXSW, which was among the proposals selected in fall 2012. We produced a short film about Orchid Project’s advocacy work to be screened during the presentation, and traveled to Austin with Ruthie in March 2013 to support her presence at the conference.
Bijou continues to provide ad hoc support with digital communications, localization efforts, and public relations.