Desert Flower Foundation Campaign-Highlights:

2002 bis 2004

  • Waris Dirie and the Desert Flower Foundation carry out a pan-European research on female genital mutilation in Europe. Waris Dirie processes the research in her book "Desert Children", which was published in 2005.


  • Waris Dirie founds the Desert Flower Foundation Germany. 


  • The BBC invites Waris Dirie for the first time to their popular show "Hard Talk" to present the work of the Desert Flower Foundation.

  • President Michail Gorbatschow honors Waris Dirie as the first woman to hold the "Women's World Award" in Hamburg at a gala.

  • Waris Dirie holds the opening speech of the largest ever conference against FGM in Nairobi, attended by 2,000 politicians and NGOs from around the world.


  • The Desert Flower Foundation collects 250,000 signatures from European citizens demanding that European governments and the European Union deal seriously with FGM issues in Europe.

  • The Desert Flower Foundation is setting up a hotline for the victims of FGM and an email address for anyone who wants to learn more about FGM.

  • The World Economic Forum in Davos names Waris Dirie the first "Young Global Leader".

  • Waris Dirie is awarded the "Bishop Romero Prize" by the Austrian Federal President Heinz Fischer and receives the Austrian citizenship for her services in the fight for human and women's rights. 


  • In 2006, the European Union invites Waris Dirie to present its research to the EU Council of Ministers. Numerous European States enact laws against FGM.

  • Waris Dirie is nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.


  • The Desert Flower Foundation and Waris Dirie are launching the UK's first major FGM education campaign in collaboration with the BBC and Scotland Yard. 30,000 DVDs using FGM will be distributed free of charge to schools, police stations, hospitals and youth welfare offices.

  • French President Nicolas Sarkozy honors Waris Dirie for her work with the Desert Flower Foundation with the highest medal in France, the "Knight of the Legion of Honor" at the Elysee Palace in Paris.

  • Waris Dirie receives the “Martin Buber Plakette” in Aachen.


  • The Desert Flower Foundation receives over 10,000 mail requests for the first time.

  • The Arab TV station "Al Jazeera" invites Waris Dirie to speak for the first time about FGM to an Arab audience in the popular Rit Kahn talk show. More than 200 million people are watching.

  • Waris Dirie arrives in Djibouti to film „Desert Flower“ and meets Djibouti‘s and Somalia’s government to discuss action against FGM. 


  • The Desert Flower Foundation launches its "Stop FGM Now" campaign with the film premiere of "Desert Flower" and produces an awareness video with Waris Dirie in cooperation with the Berlin agency Heyman Brandt Degelmini. Numerous TV stations from RTL to EuroNews, from NTV to Voice of Africa show the video for several weeks for free. The campaign reaches over 300 million people.

  • TV station CNN produces a three-part series on Waris Dirie and the work of the Desert Flower Foundation, launching the series "African Voices".


  • The Desert Flower Foundation is the first organization to receive the "Social Media Award" from the German Federal Government for its campaign.

  • Waris Dirie receives the Bavarian Film Award for „Best Picture of the Year“ and „the Audience Award“ of the Film Festival in San Sebastian for „Desert Flower“.

  • The film Desert Flower has been screened in 52 countries since 2010 and is being presented in Africa for educational purposes free of charge by NGOs such as UNHCR, UNICEF and the Desert Flower Foundation.


  • The movie Desert Flower celebrates its premiere in Africa. 1000 honor guests attend the premiere with Waris Dirie in Ethiopia's capital Addis Abeba, including numerous African politicians and commissioners of the African Union. Waris Dirie is the first woman ever to be appointed as „Ambassador for Peace and Security in Africa“ by the president  of the African Union Jean Ping.

  • Waris Dirie establishes Desert Flower Foundation Poland in Gdansk.


  • Waris Dirie and the Desert Flower Foundation launch the campaign "Together for African Women", which is supported by German textile producer Mey. From the proceeds of the campaign, the Desert Flower Foundation will create 200 jobs for single mothers in Ethiopia. Education about FGM and women's rights is part of the campaign.

  • Waris Dirie publishes the story of Safa. Safa plays the role of young Waris Dirie in the genital mutilation scene in the movie Desert Flower and was saved from female genital mutilation by the Desert Flower Foundation in 2008. Safa becomes the testemonial and first beneficiary of the campaign "Save a Little Desert Flower", which has already saved over 1000 girls from FGM in Africa.

  • Waris Dirie receives the Gold Medal of the Republic of Italy for her work with the Desert Flower Foundation together with nobelprizer winner Shirin Ebadi.


  • Waris Dirie and the Desert Flower Foundation are opening the first Desert Flower Center at Waldfriede Hospital in Berlin. More than 100 media representatives from all over the world will be appearing for the presentation. The Desert Flower Center Berlin is the first hospital to holistically treat the victims of FGM.

  • Waris Dirie is awarded as  „Woman of the Year“ in London for her work with the Desert Flower Foundation. 


  • The Desert Flower Foundation opens the "Desert Flower Surgical Training Center" in Amsterdam. More than 200 surgeons and gynecologists have been trained since the opening.

  • The Desert Flower Foundation founds Desert Flower Foundation Sierra Leone and launches the campaign "Save a Little Desert Flower".

  • Waris Dirie founds „Desert Flower Foundation Benelux“ in Amsterdam.

  • Desert Flower Foundation Scandinavia is established in Stockholm.


  • Waris Dirie establishes the "Fondation Fleur du Desert" under the aegis of "Fondation de France" in Paris.
  • The Desert Flower Foundation opens the first Desert Flower Center in Sweden in the "Karolinska University Hospital Stockholm" and organizes regular trainings for medical staff from Scandinavia.


  • 800 doctors participate in the first „Desert Flower Foundation congress“ in Stockholm.


  • Waris Dirie opens the first  "Centre Fleur du Desert" in Paris Saint-Denis.

  • Waris Dirie publishes together with her Desert Flower Foundation „My Africa – The Journey“ the first children’s book for AFrikan school and starts the education campaign „1 million schoolbooks for Africa“.

  • Waris Dirie is awarded with the „Woman oft he Year Award“ in Austria for the work of her Desert Flower Foundation.


  • Waris Dirie is awarded with the „Woman oft he Year Award“ in Italy for the work of her Desert Flower Foundation.
  • Waris Dirie is the first recipient of the "Schwarzkopf Million Chances Award" donated by the "Fritz Henkel Foundation" in the "Build Up" category.
  • The Desert Flower Foundation starts building the first "Desert Flower School" in Sierra Leone (West Africa). The school project is part of the educational initiative of Waris Dirie and her foundation.


  • Waris Dirie receives the prestigious "Sunhak Peace Prize" in Seoul (South Korea) in recognition of her commitment to women's rights and her call for a worldwide resolution to combat FGM.

  • Waris Dirie launches a new worldwide signature campaign against FGM in collaboration with British laundry label Coco de Mer and photographer Rankin. The aim is to collect 10 million signatures, which will then be handed over to the United Nations, the European Union and the African Union together with the Desert Flower Foundation Manifesto.

  • In the presence of Waris Dirie, the plans for the musical "Wüstenblume" are presented to the public for the first time in the Theater St. Gallen (Switzerland).


  • On 10 January, the first "Desert Flower School" for 400 children is opened in Sierra Leone (West Africa). A milestone! Patroness and name giver of the school is Kiera Chaplin, granddaughter of the great Charlie Chaplin. She is president of the French "Fondation Fleur du Desert".