Give Girls A Future Free From the Cruel Cut
Posted by Francesca Rutherford on Monday 9th October 2017
On this UN #Dayofthegirl we're talking about FGM and what every day people are doing to erradicate it, with the assistance of our partner, the Afar Pastoralist Development Association (APDA). This is Faatuma's story:
Faatuma Ismael, from Kori in the Afar region of Ethiopia, was an FGM practitioner. Some years ago Faatuma voluntarily walked for four days to attend a workshop run by our trusted partner the Afar Pastoralist Development Association (APDA). She had heard that people in the government were not happy with the practice, but assumed that this was because they did not share her beliefs. She knew her work caused pain and could cause illness but her elders told her it was right.
“When the trainer said that there was no part of my cultural beliefs that supported FGM, I felt physically shocked as I always thought this was the clearest mark of purity.”
One of APDA’s Traditional Birth Attendants led the meeting and talked for three days explaining how people must respect the human body. She told Faatuma the ways in which she changed her own life, stopped cutting women and started working in a local hospital helping to deliver babies. She also told
Faatuma about the problems women who come to the hospital have after FGM: struggling to pass urine, prolapsed uteruses and difficulties in childbirth.
Faatuma decided right then that she would commit herself to ending FGM in her own community.
Faatuma has a daughter, who is now 15years old:
“My mother is now a Traditional Birth Attendant for APDA. When I was younger, I remember how she stopped cutting girls and started teaching other women that FGM is very dangerous. Both my mother and I have been going to school; my mother has just reached grade 10 and wants to study to be a midwife to help women even more than she is now. I have reached grade 8. I want to complete grade 12 and then decide to be a nurse or a doctor. I do not want to get married until I complete my school. What I know is that many, many girls and women suffer because of FGM. I think now more and more people will stop FGM once they see how much trouble it causes and that not having FGM is actually normal. I’m so proud of my mother for helping change the future.”
With the support of APDA, Faatuma not only changed the course of her own life - educating herself, gaining a vocation and the passion to lead change - but also transformed her daughter's: inspiring her to stay in school, marry later and continue the fight to end FGM.
This is such a positive story, and evidence that in this one region of Ethiopia, change really is starting to take hold. We want this story to be repeated over and over again.
Please help and donate what you can on this Day of the Girl Child.