I know my principles and my rights. My body is my body.

Olerai underwent Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and it took two months for the bleeding to stop. She is now protecting her daughters from being cut and campaigns against FGM with our partner organisation FIDA Kenya.

Olerai


"I’m not married, I have four children including two small girls. My mother tried to force me to circumcise them, but I opposed her. I learned about my rights, domestic violence, and the effects of FGM during the training provided by FIDA Kenya.

I was brought up by my aunt who didn't have children. The tradition is that I’m not supposed to get married, but have children for me and for her. The girls are still young, but my aunt is pushing for their circumcision. I want them to go to school, understand the bad effects of FGM, and tell her that women should not be circumcised.

With the support from FIDA Kenya, no man can force me to have sex with them. I have the knowledge which means I have the power, I know my principles and my rights. My body is my body; no man will take it for himself.

I was brought up thinking that FGM was good and I had it, but now I know the effects. I don’t want my girls to go through that. Everyone in my family has been cut, I was 9 years old when it happened. One day, the old mothers came to perform the ritual. I was told not to cry, but it was really painful, they used a razor blade. I bled a lot – I had to stay home for three months to recover and I couldn't stand up, the pain was unbearable. When I was fifteen, I was told to get pregnant. I found a boy my age and I had my first baby. I didn’t know I had any choice, I wish I hadn’t been circumcised.

The training provided by FIDA is crucial - now I share my knowledge and experience with Maasai women. I want to tell all the girls out there not to be cut. The number of girls experiencing FGM has decreased because the majority of children go to school, but it still is a big challenge for the Maasai community. Men tend to only marry women who have been cut. I hope that my children will be informed about FGM and they will choose not to have it."


This project is funded by the UK government’s Department for International Development through the UK Aid Match scheme.
This project is funded by the UK government’s Department for International Development through the UK Aid Match scheme.