One girl in Kenya finds a safe haven from FGM, and a future

Charity, left, and Josephine are two residents of the Maria Adelaide Center who fled their homes to avoid FGM or forced early marriage. (GSR/Melanie Lidman)

Ewuaso, Kenya — For 16 years, Loreto Sr. Ephigenia Gachiri has traveled across Kenya desperately trying to halt female genital mutilation. Though millions of women are still at risk for the ceremonial cutting, there are success stories. Mary Nasibo is one.

When Mary Nasibo was growing up in Ongata Rongai, a town on the southern fringe of Nairobi's sprawl, she vaguely knew about female genital mutilation. She had heard about it, but didn't really understand what it was.

When she was 11, Nasibo and her schoolmates attended one of Gachiri's seminars in their school, a lecture designed to help girls understand exactly what female genital mutilation is and why it is dangerous. 

"We watched movies about FGM and got information, and I decided I did not want to undergo that process," Nasibo, now 18, told Global Sisters Report. "But when I went back home, my dad passed away," she recalled.

Three years later, FGM became a topic of conversation.

"My grandma was pushing my mom to circumcise me. I overheard them talking about how they were going to do it. So I went to my teacher and I told her. My teacher collected me and talked to Sister Ephigenia and they went to the chief. Then I went to a small children's home nearby for two weeks. My mom was advised not to do it, so I went back home for a while."

But during that time, Nasibo said, she was mistreated and scared. When she overheard talk about circumcising her again, Nasibo went to her teacher, and they decided to find a permanent solution.

Read the full story at Global Sisters Report.

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