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. I was driven, really, to help this cause after hearing a story about it on NPR. I remember it vividly- I was driving and almost had to pull over as I was overcome by waves of nausea as I learned more of this vile practice. As I thought of my own eldest daughter, with her auburn hair and her dark eyes… and the differences between my eight year old and the girls in the story blurred. It could be her. It SHOULDN’T be anyone.
Before the month was over I had sponsored my first little Desert Flower, after extensive research into the charities that are most successful in helping to eradicate this practice. I set my donation to renew monthly. An easy amount I never had to even think about helped a cause and a girl I thought about quite a lot. And then life happened and months moved quickly. We were to move, and then didn’t. Got new jobs. Got pregnant. Had our youngest daughter, one of our three. A month easily turned into a year of support. And then I received a normal email, on a normal day, from the Desert Flower Foundation. “Your credit card has expired, could you please renew it?”
And I thought about the gratefulness in my own heart to my own daughters’ safety. As a mother, you worry about your children, it is intrinsic. But of FGM I didn’t have to worry. My girls were safe. And ALL girls should be safe. And I thought of the little Desert Flower I sponsored… and it didn’t seem like enough. I have 3 girls I am raising, and I was compelled, as I renewed my sponsorship, to increase my giving to monthly cover the full sponsorship for three girls. Three girls, a mirror to my own. I am grateful for the opportunity to help. I am grateful for the good work Waris and everyone at DFF do. I am grateful those three girls don’t have to suffer, and are a ripple in the pond of their communities to changing this practice forever.
May more girls grow in good health and educated. May that girl grow into a woman, free to love and bear children and not suffer from FGM. May she then play an active role in protecting her own daughters from FGM. And then may she live, through all the long years of her life, to watch her granddaughters playing one day- and know they are completely safe from FGM.
The reason I give is simple. I give because those girls deserve the world. And the world deserves those girls.