Tuesday 15 April 2014

Why Hiara?

or how I first learnt about FGM...

Thirty years ago in my first teaching post in Sudan I was shocked that even the Russian educated doctor there admitted he would be unable to protect his daughters from the harmful and dangerous practice of female genital mutilation (FGM).

That was in the days before the internet and few people in the West had even heard of female circumcision as it was then euphemistically described. ... I've now got two adult daughters of my own who've been free to leave home, travel,  make their own decisions. Life around the world has changed in so many ways,  for some.

Yet in Mara, Tanzania,  as in Sudan and in 28 countries too many, girls are still subjected to this horrific ritual.  

Recently I've been inspired by strong women like Fahma Mohammed who've bravely spoken out about this issue that goes to the core of female control.  I believe the tide is turning and once girls feel they have the power to say no and speak out they give hope to others to join them.  

Rhobi Samwelly  has been going into villages in Mara, Tanzania convincing people to start questioning FGM. Saying no to FGM currently means girls are ostracised from their village. They cannot assert this control over their bodies without an alternative. To empower these girls the Tanzania Development Trust is building a safe house to give them a refuge and a path to economic independence until their families are convinced.  

On May 1st we began our  GlobalGiving UK challenge to raise £2000 from 50 donors in a month.

Any tips and advice for us gratefully received!.

Next time I'll talk about the other projects I'll be visiting for GlobalGiving in September....

Oh, Hiara is Swahili for free will, which is what saying NO to FGM is all about...