Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Do You Know Who Waris Dirie Is?

Waris is a supermodel.

She is beautiful, wealthy, and circumcised.

Her name means "Desert Flower" which is also the title of one of her books about Female Genital Mutilation. You can learn about her story from her foundation, the Waris Dirie Foundation which leads her fight against Female Genital Cutting.

"Born into a nomadic Somali family, 39-year-old supermodel Waris Dirie survived the traditional form of female genital mutilation that kills hundreds of women in Africa every year - including her own younger sister and two cousins...
... Dirie remembers the mutilation only as 'that horror.' As a little girl, she was blindfolded and held down by her mother, with only a cloth to bite on to relieve her pain, while her clitoris was cut out with a dirty razor. The same procedure, Dirie says, killed her sister - along with many other girls in Somalia who were cut in the wrong vein and bled to death or died of an infection. But Waris, who survived this tragic procedure, shows a strength, not only of the physical sort, but also a strength of mind, body and soul. Dirie underwent this crime...survived...and she is living AND campaigning to tell about it."

Friends of Mercy is working to raise awareness among Lutherans about the problem of FGM with our fellow Lutherans in Kenya. I met with the Maasai elders and other leaders to develop a program that will build a refuge center called the Entito Rescue Center for girls. This compound will include a grade school, a medical clinic, and other facilities so that the school could board 500 girls and up to 200 girls who want to break the cycle of FGM.