|Stop FGM Rescue Center|
Each month in Kenya there are hundreds of young girls who are forced to undergo a barbaric rite of passage known as female genital mutilation (FGM). The young girls are held down by women while a tribe elder uses a razor blade to cut off external genitalia
and stretch the skin to sew it shut. This is done without any anesthesia or numbing agents. Imagine the screams of pain and the cries for mercy! Each month there are countless girls who die during FGM or suffer mental shock making them insane.
Girls who survive have a life long battle with infections and difficult child births.
¨ Around 90% of women in rural tribes suffer from chronic pelvic and urine infections.
¨ 80% will have suffered traumatic births where 30% will have got fistulas. Once a lady gets a fistula, she is seen as being unclean and is banished from her tribe.
¨ A good 20% will have delivered still births
So, with such alarming statistics, why isn’t the Government in Kenya able to stop FGM? Although it is illegal in Kenya , it is still practiced in rural areas for 3 main reasons;
1. The tribes still believe FGM is necessary
2. Girls don’t know they have a right to say NO and seek help from law officials
3. There is no place for the girls to go for refuge
In one of the areas we work in, government officials told us, that when they hear of a girl being forced into FGM ,officials do intervene. Yet once they intervene, there is no place where the girl can be housed until they deem it safe for her to live with her family. The only place where they can house such girls is in a prison.
Many girls undergo FGM by the age of 10years and are married by the age of 12years and usually struggle to deliver babies having undergone infibulation during their FGM 14yrs. The girls are usually married off to much older men aged 40yrs plus, who just want another pair of hands to do work. We came across one young 16yr old girl who had been whipped by her 48yr old husband with a cane until the whole of her back was raw and bleeding. She had been left to die and was rescued by a local woman who saw the girl.
For many years we have campaigned silently to “STOP FGM” by carrying the message on our t-shirts and distributing bags to women bearing the message. When we sat down with the rural community of Amboselli and heard some of the stories and saw some of the girls, we knew that the time to campaign silently was over. It was time for us to stand up and do something active to HELP protect girls from this horrendous act of barbarism.
This led us to open dialogue with tribal elders and government authorities in designing an FGM rescue centre and children’s clinic to be named Angels of “Still’s Kids”
In late 2012, the vision for a project in Amboselli began. A project that would;
¨ Provide Healthcare to Children & Young Mothers
¨ Protect young girls from FGM
¨ Educate the community on basic Health Management & FGM
When we talked to tribal elders and local government child welfare and health officials, they welcomed our project as something they had all prayed for.
The community soon donated 5acres of land in the shadow of Mt. Kilimanjaro, a place that has peaceful energy.
Divinity Foundation is a very small organisation, so our next hurdle is funding this project.
We decided that our project would be broken down into phases, meaning it would give us time to fundraise for each phase.
¨ FGM Rescue Center ( a place for girls to stay, receive counselling, nurturing care and support)
¨ A small farm to grow vegetables to feed the girls in the rescue center
¨ An outpatient children’s clinic
¨ Small project office
It will cost us Kenyan shillings 2.5 million to build and furnish this phase of the project.
That is approximately £25,000 or Euros/$30,000
At the moment we are fundraising for phase one of the project.
¨ Dormitories for international volunteers to stay
¨ Learning Centre/Library for children
¨ Maternity Hospital with capability of performing C-sections and Fistula repairs, with pre and post natal classes for young mothers preparing them for a beautiful birthing experience
Soon, Panta Rei came into the picture and before we knew it they had made a pledge to donate some money to help up build our project. The money came from their charitable foundation known as Still’s Kids Foundation.
There came the name for the project… “Angels of Still’s Kids”
Our next task was finding an architect and construction company who could handle the task of turningbarren 5 acres into our vision. We soon came across Pankaj Sakhuja, who has many years of experience working in India and Cambodia designing and building projects for charities.
When we started looking at building materials for the project, our CEO said she wanted something permanent and low maintenance. She didn’t want us using cheap materials that would mean leaking buildings requiring constant maintenance every two years. Once again, as if by magic, she heard of someone exporting eco friendly building blocks that are;
¨ Water resistant
¨ Termite resistant (so important for Africa)
¨ Fire resistant
And best of all ,construction would be faster using the blocks which slot into each other easily.
To support this project today, please donate by clicking on the "Donate" button on the screen. Your help today, will be an important part of protecting young girls from being brutally tortured and will also help provide basic healthcare for children and young mothers.
UPDATE: The building of the FGM rescue center started in November 2013 and in April 2014 opened it's doors to welcome young girls who required protection and refuge against FGM and Child Marriages. The center is now Home to young girls and features a dairy farm, vegetable and medicinal farm as well as onsite borehole and solar power, making it a self sustaining project that delivers Hope to young girls in the local community of Oloitoktok, Kenya.
We welcome you to support our work and to visit us at our Home in Oloitoktok and see the difference a little intention, focus and love makes.