Kamilika
 Stop FGM

 

 

“As I’ve been told, four women hold the girl down with her legs spread, while the nachane scrapes off her woman parts... with a razor or knife.  Then she applies some herbs or something to stop the bleeding, and binds the girl’s legs together from hips to knees for forty days to give the wound time to heal.”
Fauziya Kassindja, Do They Hear You When You Cry?

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Everyday 6,000 girls, babies and women are mutilated. Yet, FGM continues while the world is silent to their screams.

Female genital mutilation, FGM, is practiced in 28 sub-Saharan African countries, the Middle East and in immigrant communities throughout the world. Approximately 135 million women and girls have been circumcised. The practice can lead to never ending suffering, chronic urinary infections, infertility, childbirth complications, maternal mortality, the transmission of HIV/AIDS, decrease in sexual pleasure, and death.The Lancet [WHO FGM study, 2006]  estimates that one to two deaths per 100 births are the result of FGM. Kamilika is dedicated to eradicating female genital mutilation and raising global awareness about gender based violence. It is contributing to the global campaign to stop female genital mutilation, FGM, by working directly with practitioners of FGM and members of their communities and by providing educational sponsorships for young girls.  Kamilika’s holistic approach is successfully eliminating the practice of FGM in villages of Northern Tanzania. Kamilika believes that every woman has the right to life without violence and that FGM is a violation of the human rights of women and girls.

Kamilika focuses on:

  • Educating women, girls and their communities to the severe health risks of female cutting
  • Providing alternate income sources for practitioners who have stopped circumcising
  • Encouraging alternate safe rites of passage
  • Empowering women to make healthy decisions for themselves and their families, and to become actively involved in their communities
  • Sponsoring girls at Noonkodin High School and safe house
 
 


Kamilika's Story

In 2005, Agnes Pareiyo, UN Woman of the Year for her work with FGM, led a village meeting in Monduli, Northern Tanzania to educate women, girls and community members about the dangers of FGM. Soon after this meeting, in 2006, Kamilika began teaching women circumcisers and their communities about health risks caused by FGM and early marriage.  Recognizing there are many beliefs and traditions in the Maasai culture that make change challenging, especially the complex nature of the rite of passage rituals for girls, Kamilika joined with Aang Serian, a local Maasai organization to change the face of human rights in Maasai villages. Together, Kamilika and Aang Serian, through education about FGM and the substitution of alternative safe rites of passage, are helping to preserve the integrity of the villages and the essential generational lessons handed down by grandmothers and ex-circumcisers. 

Because the ideas come from within the Maasai community, through discussion, rather than being imposed by outside culture, the Maasai are willing to consider new ideas and are embracing the idea of education as a means to cultural survival and securing health and safety for the villagers.
 
Kamilika and Aang Serian have organized village level meetings to educate over 5,500 villagers about the dangers of FGM;  how to prevent HIV/AIDS;  and the importance of educating girls.
 
After village  meetings, interested women and men are invited to attend a training course to become local trainers.  They are taught basic anatomy and physiology, virology (HIV/AIDS) and causes of bacterial transmission.  They are also taught hygiene, nutrition, self care and child care skills, respectful traditional behaviors, attributes of indigenous herbal medicines, how to care for farm animals and midwifery skills.
 
As a result of this training, more and more girls and their families are seeking alternatives to FGM.  For the lucky ones, marriages are delayed until secondary schooling is completed and girls participate in safe alternative rites of passage without the traditional harmful "cutting."  In other cases, girls must run away to continue their schooling and escape the dangers of FGM.  Many girls have found refuge at our Noonkodin Secondary School and safehouse.  Each one wants to become a nurse or a doctor or a teacher and bring her knowledge and skills back to her village. 
 
We are currently working on a training course for girls at the school to teach important health information to girls in their villages even before they graduate. Our goal is to have them staff community centers on weekends and give vital information to everyone who drops in.


Two Maasai girls who have been recently cut. They wear the beads and clothes until they heal.

 
 
Retired circumcisors in front of some of the food Kamilika bought for them.

Kamilika's Successes

Many community members have joined together to stop FGM in the villages where our training is ongoing.  More and more families are electing modified rites of passage instead of cutting for their daughters. Instead of early marriage, they are encouraging their daughters to attend school.
  
Over 50 circumcisers have stopped performing excisions and have handed in their tools.  Instead, they are committed to educating girls and community members about the dangers of FGM and early marriage. 27 girls are currently live at the safe house and attend Noonkodin Secondary School.  Many more are awaiting sponsorships.  Over 80 women in four villages have joined traditional choirs, using song as a medium to spread messages about the dangers of FGM and HIV/AIDS.  Among those openly declaring their support are traditional spiritual leaders, teachers, village elders, elected officials and women of all ages.  Each year their commitment grows stronger.

How You Can Help

Sponsor a girl for $39.00 per month. This pays for her schooling, room, board and books.  If you wish, you can name a girl you want to sponsor or ask to sponsor the girl most in need.  The girls you sponsor will send you letters, photos and updates about their lives. Make a monthly donation to build needed classrooms and new dorms to house more girls;  to fund training programs to prepare the girls< to teach primary school children about the dangers of FGM and the prevention of HIV/AIDS; and to hire more qualified teachers to help make the girls' dreams come true.

Make a one time donation, of any amount, to be used as you direct.  No amount is too small. For more information visit our Sponsorship page

Please Make a Donation

Any amount, both monetary and non monetary, such as travel miles, is appreciated. The Maasai women and girls have the strongest voices in the campaign to stop FGM.  They are spreading the word from one village to another and are making the whole world a better place for their daughters, sisters and all girls.
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