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Julia Lalla-Maharajh

CEO and Founder, Orchid Project


Julia spent 18 years in the corporate sector, specialising in transport policy and communications. She then volunteered in Ethiopia, where she came to understand more about the devastating scale and impacts of female genital cutting (FGC). In 2010, she won a YouTube competition to take an urgent human rights cause to Davos and led a panel discussing how to end FGC. She spent time in Senegal and The Gambia, visiting communities and seeing the incredible change at the grassroots levels, where thousands of communities are choosing to abandon FGC. She then set up Orchid Project with a vision of a world free from female genital cutting. In 2010 Julia was named ‘Influencer of the Year’ by the Directory for Social Change; in 2011 she was honoured by the Queen as a ‘Woman Agent of Change’ on Commonwealth Day. Orchid Project was shortlisted for Best New Charity at the Charity Times Awards 2013 and Julia is one of the Evening Standard's Power 1,000: London's Most Influential People.