Waris Dirie: "Only we women can save Mother Earth!"

Education is the only effective instrument against Female Genital Mutilation and forced marriage

Waris Dirie gets into position (Photo: Jessica Keller/Blick).

Again and again my story is compared to the fairy tale "Cinderella". Okay, my life was a fairy tale too, but believe me, I never wanted to be an African Cinderella. Like Cinderella, I had to experience a lot of suffering, but in the end she got her prince and moved into a castle. Instead of moving into a castle, at the height of my modeling career, I talked about that terrible day that changed my life forever. The day of my genital circumcision. I revealed my most intimate feelings to the whole world.

Why did I do that? I wanted the attention - but not in the spotlight on the catwalk, but for my mission. Even as a little girl in the desert of Somalia, I knew that Female Genital Mutilation was wrong. No god in the world can allow so much pain on children. I felt obliged to use my fame and glory to go back to Africa and help the girls there. It took some time for people to understand that I am fighting against a heinous crime and not against culture, religion or tradition.

Greed, ignorance and stupidity in economics and politics are causing increasing social injustice. Women suffer the most. We are unfortunately very far from equal rights for women. In all my projects I focus on the human right of education for girls and women. Only education can stop FGM in Africa in a sustainable way! It is proven: Societies and economies in which girls go to school develop much faster. It even has an effect on a better living together with men. We can simply make our world more just by teaching our children that all people have equal rights and equal duties. The least we can do is to treat others with respect and love.

An African proverb says: If you educate a man, you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman, you educate a nation. I am convinced that only we women can save Mother Earth and make this world more fair. I hope that together we can save many more girls from FGM and enable them to get an education. Please continue to support my work with the Desert Flower Foundation so generously.

You have the possibility:

Many thanks!



Waris Dirie

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