Tough talk: Author discusses forced marriage at Oaks Park High School, Newbury Park

Author - Sufiya Ahmed - Secrets of the Henna Girl which is about forced marriage.
She works with

Author - Sufiya Ahmed - Secrets of the Henna Girl which is about forced marriage. She works with people who have been involved with forced marriages, inc Harriet Harman and Steve Timms, It's been shortlisted by Redbrdge students Ifaz Chowdhury, 14, Kate Price, 14 and Arddsu Hussain, 13 Working with Year 9 students at Oak Park High school - Credit: Archant

Forced marriage was the subject of a hard-hitting talk by an author who visited a Newbury Park school.

Sufiya Ahmed visited Oaks Park High School, Oaks Lane and spoke to more than 100 Year 9 pupils about the controversial topic.

Miss Ahmed’s book, Secrets of a Henna Girl, is about forced marriages and has been shortlisted for the Redbridge Book Award.

Linda Hayes, who organised last week’s event, said: “She is a local person and was talking about an unusual subject, one that many students probably wouldn’t have come across.”

Mrs Hayes said student feedback was very positive, adding: “Most didn’t know the difference between forced and arranged marriages. Many thought it was illegal. It really got them talking about what they would do.

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“She got across the message that there are places to help. The powerful message was ‘if you stand up for yourself, you will get out of it’.”

The school said the talk was so successful they will be asking Miss Ahmed back to talk to their older students.

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