Their names are Hillary, Alimatu, Ramatu and Jariatu. And they all have one thing in common: All four girls were saved from the cruel female genital mutilation (FGM) by Waris Dirie and her Desert Flower Foundation in Sierra Leone. Instead of the senseless, so painful and often life-threatening circumcision, they can attend school in their home country, as they are part of our sponsorship project "Save a Small Desert Flower".
And all four have big plans for the future:
- Hillary's in fourth grade at Anerdan School. "I want to be a nurse one day," she says. An outstanding feature of Hillary is that, despite her 11 years, she consciously addresses the issue of female circumcision and thus creates discussion in her class and the community. In most cases, Hillary tells stories during breaks, while all the children sit around her and listen. It was her who made public the news of a secret circumcision ceremony of two young girls attending Baptist Real School in Allentown. Hillary lives with her mother Sidi. With the support of the Desert Flower Foundation, Hillary can not only attend school, but also supports her two older brothers.
- Alimatu is 10 years old and comes from a Muslim family. "I would like to own a shop some day," she explains. She is very good at sports, is loved by many, her favourite subjects are mathematics and natural sciences. She comes from Muslim backgrounds, but like many other children in Sierra Leone she is also allowed to attend a Catholic school. Alimatus' grandmother is very happy about the support of the sponsorship project and makes sure that her granddaughter goes to school regularly.
- Ramatu is one of our beneficiaries in the Allentown community. She attends Anerdan Junior Secondary School. "I want to be a lawyer," says Ramatu. She has been sponsored by us since 2014 and still benefits from the program today. Her family uses the support to pay school fees and books, but has also been able to establish a retail business with some of the funds. At the end Ramatu would like to thank all donors: "The help has a big influence on the whole life in my community".
- Jariatu is a "Desert Flower" from the Newton community and attends the St. Clement Senior Secondary School. She says that years ago she had to drop out of school due to a lack of funds. But fortunately this has changed again with her inclusion in the Desert Flower Foundation program. Her family is very grateful for the support and uses the money for school materials and fees. Jariatu also explains how important the help is, as 95 percent of parents are illiterate in their community.
To explain: Before all these "Desert Flowers" were even financially supported, their families had to commit themselves contractually to refrain from genital circumcision of their girls. The intact condition of the girls is checked twice a year by a local paediatrician.
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