Thursday, October 17, 2013

Waris Dirie Wins The Women of the Year Campaigning Award For Her Work On FGM

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Waris Dirie came to my attention through her book, Desert Flower, an autobiography that highlights her life as a survivor of female genital mutilation (FGM). The book has since become a movie starring Liya Kebede, and Waris Dirie has continued to campaign tirelessly on the issue to save other young girls from the ordeal she went through.

From just speaking against FGM, Waris Dirie has also opened the first medical centre in Berlin that will offer FGM sufferers reconstructive surgery and she hopes to roll this initiative out to Kenya, Ethiopia, the Netherlands and Switzerland. For her efforts over the years, she was recognised by the Women of the Year organization with a Campaigning award.

Click the title to buy Waris Dirie's Desert Flower book. More info on Waris Dirie below;

Waris, now 48 and living in Poland with her four children, was just five years old when she was subjected to FGM in her home country of Somalia. She was then forced into marrying a 60-year-old man when she was just thirteen, a threat which left her no choice but to flee to Mogadish, where she had family.

She later moved to London to live with relatives and worked in a local McDonald's before getting her big break when she was scouted by a fashion photographer in the 1990s. Her career as a supermodel went from strength to strength and she starred in Chanel campaigns and even made a cameo appearance in James Bond movie, The Living Daylights.

But her life was fickle. ‘I thought, “This is b*****t, fake. I couldn’t sleep one more night knowing the truth about what was happening to girls,’ she told The Guardian. And that’s when she decided to speak up.
In a candid interview with Marie Claire at the height of her fame in 1997, Waris revealed her dark past whereby she was subjected to FGM and left to recover in a makeshift shelter under a tree for several days. She has since set about saving other young girls from enduring what she suffered.

She has since been appointed a UN special ambassador and set up her own charity, Desert Flower Foundation, to help protect girls against the practice, which involves partial or total removal of the external female genitalia for non-medical reasons.

H/T DailyMail

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