For almost 2 years now I’ve been a sponsor to a girl in Sierra Leone- to save her from the practice known as FGM, or Female Genital Mutilation. This sponsorship pays for the ongoing guarantee that she will not undergo FGM, her education, food for her family, education for her family as to why FGM should be avoided, and regular healthcare. Since that time I originally sponsored a child in January of 2015, I’ve had another daughter. And as I look at my 3 girls it grew in me that I wanted to do more for this cause- and so I’ve recently signed up to sponsor 2 more girls each month. This allows me to match the number of my own girls and seemed eminently important to do. Honestly, I was totally unable to ignore the call to do so, it’s so grown in me recently. I feel as strongly about this cause as I did when I originally posted about it 2 years ago. And as strongly committed to wiping it out as then as well.
May more girls grow up unmultilated.
And Educated in this world.
Below is my post from January of 2015:
The cause I cleaved to in the later part of 2014 and will be more focussed on helping in the future: Ending FGM, also know as Female Genital Mutilation.
Young Girl in Gambia- where the incidence of FGM is 76% (image by Joe Rodd)
In 2015 I started to contribute to Waris Dierie’s Desert Flower Foundation to end FGM around the world. Why? Because the thought of some innocent child my daughters’ age getting held down and screaming while she is permenantly mutilated with no anesthesia is so incredibly horrifying I want to throw up every single time I think about it. Having been a victim of this mutilation, that child’s risk later in life of contracting HIV and dying in childbirth go up astronomically; and that is in addition to the lifetime of pain caused from it. FGM isn’t a religious practice as many believe, it’s cultural- and therefore changeable within a single generation. Below is the link to The Desert Flower Foundation, which is the organization I chose to support after researching the ones that had proven positive results:
Desert Flower Foundation:
And yes, historically, charitable giving into Africa hasn’t always been successful. But that is because changes were attempted to be imposed from the outside. The Desert Flower Foundation works from within these communities, and is thus much more successful in achieving lasting change. And lest you think the work to end FGM is fighting a losing battle, it is actually quickly turning the tide of cultural practice- but nowhere near quickly enough. And even if it wasn’t, remember the story of the starfish:
Thousands of starfish had washed up on a beach, and a little girl was throwing them back in the ocean. Someone walked up to her and said “Save your strength, there is no way you’ll be able to save them all.” The little girl paused for a moment and then quickly knelt down and picked up a single starfish off the beach. As she threw it in the water she said “Saved that one!” Others around were inspired by that child’s action and started throwing the starfish into the water with her. Soon, no starfish remained on the beach.
Sure that story is smaltzy, I’ll give you that. But like in that story, I’d try to save just one girl even if it didn’t have a rippling effect on changing cultural norms in her community… but luckily it does. But also? These are not starfish. These are children. These are girls with dreams. Girls who love their kittens and their mothers’ cooking and being able to go to school. Who should one day have a right to grow from a child to a woman- with a right to love and have children, and not suffer in pain daily. Who should grow into women who will fight so their daughters don’t have to suffer FGM. And who should live to see their granddaughters be fully safe from FGM as well. These are girls who should not have to suffer this horrible practice. SHOULD. NOT.
Please learn more if you are interested and help if you are so driven.