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Students Abigail (right) and Purity (left) in class at the ActionAid-supported safe house in West Pokot, Kenya.

The best friends who escaped FGM

Posted in Blogs 2 years 6 months ago

Everyone’s got a best friend, right? And you’d probably do anything for them. I know I’d certainly do anything for mine. But I’ve never had to help my best friend escape real danger – which is exactly what 14-year-old Abigail did for Purity in Kenya.

Abigail, 14, ran away from home to escape FGM. She is now living in an ActionAid-funded safe house, in Kongelai, West Pokot, and fronting our campaign to help protect other girls.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is ruthless. It has no health benefits for girls and women. The procedure can cause severe bleeding and lasting health problems. When you look at the faces of young innocent girls who are helpless and are afraid of undergoing the cut, you feel very sad and angered.

He Named Me Malala Official Trailer

The story of Pakistani schoolgirl, Malala Yousafzai, struck a chord with the world when she was attacked by the Taliban in 2009 for simply speaking out on girls’ right to education. Today the film He named me Malala will be screened across cinemas in the UK. It looks at Malala's life, her relationship with her father and what drove her courage to fight for an issue she so deeply believed in.

Rape survivors from Mukuru slum (Nairobi) earn a living by  by producing their own line of peanut butter.

When I think about peanut butter, the first thing that comes to mind is how well it goes with jam, followed by how many calories it contains (which I quickly forget). The one thought that has never crossed my mind is how making peanut butter could change someone's life - until last week, when I found a jar of a new brand of peanut butter in the office. Don't worry, this is not a dodgy advertorial, but the start of a very inspiring story.

Jane Lokorngole, a former cutter, at home in West Pokot, Kenya.

I had read about many young women and girls’ horrific experiences of female genital mutilation (FGM) before my recent trip to Kenya. But I had never heard the cutter’s point of view before. While I was there, I met two women who had previously made their living carrying out FGM but who are now passionate advocates against the practice.

Salome, 14 at her primary school. Salome ran away from home to escape FGM.

The stories behind the FGM statistics

Posted in Blogs 3 years 7 months ago

F. G. M. Three innocent letters. Yet for millions of girls they represent the end of their childhood and the beginning of a lifetime of misery. Worldwide an estimated 140 million women and girls have had female genital mutilation (FGM), but it's stories like these from Kenya which bring the horror of that statistic to life.