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Jaha Dukureh

Stood up against the FGM in the middle of the desert when no one could hear her, now she is a world known activist - Jaha Dukureh

When she was only a week old, she was subjected to FGM - female genital mutilation - of the 3rd type, which is the "sewn closed" category, involves the removal of the external genitalia and fusion of the wound. The inner and/or outer labia are cut away, with or without removal of the clitoral glans.

Imagine an infant goes through a procedure cruel and savage like this, in the middle of the desert where there is no medical care to be given.

Jaha wasn’t the first infant to be subjected to such cruelty, over eight million women in Africa are living with Type III FGM.

Ever thought of how they do this procedure?

The girl is made to squat on a mat facing the circumciser at a height that offers him/her a good view of the parts to be handled. Adult helpers grab and pull apart the legs of the girl. If available, this is the stage at which a local anesthetic would be used.

And if not available… well, you can imagine now what these girls must have been through at such a young age.

As usual, Islamic scriptures are commanding the women to be circumcised!

In the Gambia, there are more than 9 ethnic groups, and one of them is the Islamic group from which Jaha is coming.

As expected, lots of societies confuse the cultural heritage with the religious scriptures, all because of religious leaders who want to dominate and control the people around them by the name of god.

So, when the whole FGM issue is brought up, the instant response to it is “Islam is the reason”... when in fact it is NOT!

What Jaha did to rest her case?

After her mother's death, she moved to New York City at the age of 15 for an arranged marriage that had been planned years earlier, which was her gate to freedom of speech if you looked beyond the fact that she was forced to marry a stranger.

After experiencing severe pain during intercourse, she underwent surgery to undo the infibulation.

She got divorced after a while and managed to enroll in a New York City high school after being rejected by 10 other schools because she did not have the consent of a legal guardian.

After graduation from high school, she soon earned her Bachelor's degree in business administration management at Georgia Southwestern State University in 2013.

That same year, she founded Safe Hands for Girls, an anti-FGM non-profit organization.

Now, she is the executive director at SFG and the lead campaigner in The Guardian's End FGM Guardian Global Media Campaign.

Finally, In April 2016, she was named to the 2016 New York Times 100 list. And the journey is still going until this moment.


1- Sometimes we think of bad things like it is the end of the world, when in fact it may be a gateway to something more promising than your current situation.

2- When we are here, living our life, demanding more rights of freedom and financial independency, there are women all over the world struggling for the basic rights we took for granted, they are struggling for the right live like a human being!

3- Can you imagine these twisted traditions that make some people actually approve of hurting infants for the sake of being socially accepted!

4- they taught us to wait till we get married, to be able to do anything in life, but Jaha and Malala didn’t wait, they just acted!

5- Yes, Jaha and Malala are magnificent young girls, but let us widen the picture a bit more, could they do anything without the help of others? Especially family member?

Malala’s father made a TEDx Talk about only his daughter and how she was such a pride to him, isn't that a huge part of the deal?

Jaha moved with a branch of her family living in the US so she can apply to high schools, isn’t that a huge part of the deal?

Let us know your opinion!

Written by ENGY HASSAN

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