Wednesday, 16 December 2015

161 girls now seeing sanctuary from FGM at the Safe House

Rhobi was expecting a relatively quiet cutting season this year as most of the Kuria tribe in Serengeti only cut on alternate years.  

But news of the Safe House has spread far and wide, and there are now 161 girls from as far away as Loliondo, 5 hours by bus.

Some of the girls are as young as 9.  Girls like Javita, left, fleeing with her sister.  Her mother told them to run, fearing that her neighbours would force them to be cut.  Javita is an amazing dancer, and wants to be a doctor, she told me shyly.

Others have come alone or with their friends. Many ran away at night after finding out that they were going to be cut in the morning. They arrive at the Safe House with just the clothes they are wearing.  

On Human Rights day last week the girls marched around Mugumu town demanding control over their bodies and singing songs they have composed proclaiming "We girls of today don't want FGM".

It's a struggle to
accommodate so many girls, especially as there is no kitchen and everything is cooked on firewood.  The girls eat outside which is difficult during the frequent rain.

Girls are now sharing 3 to a mattress and we've made a makeshift dormitory in the tailoring room.  But spirits are high - the girls know they are the lucky ones, many of their friends back in the villages are now dealing with the many health problems that come with being cut, including the very real danger of HIV infection.   You can see a short film about the Safe House here and one about Salama, the abandoned baby rescued from wild dogs that they are sheltering here

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