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Christmas letter of Waris Dirie from Sierra Leone

Waris surrounded by girls rescued from FGM.

Dear Desert Flower family, dear supporters!

I spend Christmas with my sons Aleeke and Leon in Sierra Leone for the first time. Of course, I also use the time to get an impression of our work on site. I am totally happy that our projects are working so well.

I can assure you that our more than 1000 supervised "desert flowers" in Sierra Leone are doing very well. I was able to convince myself of this in the last few days. But all this was only possible with your generous donations. A big THANK YOU for your support!

Sierra Leone is one of the poorest countries in the world. Only one person in three can read. The illiteracy rate is 70 percent. Sierra Leone ranks third after Niger and Burkina Faso in the top 50 illiterate countries. Unfortunately, the unemployment rate is just as high. The per capita income is 1.6 US-Dollar. For years, the country has been ranked last on the list of the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme), the least developed countries. That means: Schools are urgently needed. Only through targeted education an improvement can succeed.

Particularly shocking: Nine out of ten girls are still being circumcised in Sierra Leone. The effects can be terrible. During my stay, another ten-year-old girl died again as a result of female genital mutilation. This is terrifying, depressing and makes me very, very sad. At the same time, it's also an incentive for me to never give up my fight against FGM!

In 2019 we will:

  • Build two schools for a total of 600 children in Sierra Leone
  • Install a home for 100 girls who have to flee from FGM, forced marriage or violence
  • Take over another 1000 sponsorships
  • Build affordable housing for single mothers in the capital Freetown together with Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyer.

Naturally, we will keep you informed about our projects in the upcoming year. I am very grateful that you support our work so much. Christmas is the time of hope. My hope is to put an end to the cruel and inhuman ritual of female genital circumcision worldwide.

That's why I'm happy about your Christmas donation. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Let's put an end to FGM together.

I wish you a Merry Christmas!


Love & Peace,

Waris Dirie


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