Now I know the ills of FGM and I don’t want it in my community

Marisa is a mother of seven boys and one girl. She used to assist during Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) procedures but, since attending FIDA Kenya’s training sessions on combating FGM, her life has changed. Now she makes a living from Maasai beading work.

Marisa

“I would hold a girl’s legs open as the cutter performed circumcision. I ensured everything was clean, so the girls wouldn't get infected. My mother taught me how to do it when I was 15, I inherited the job from her. I had a great income, 3000 Kenyan shillings ($30) per girl. I loved the money – it was the best paid job I've ever had. I was doing it for 20 years, feeling proud of it within the community. I didn’t feel any shame.

I stopped performing FGM because the government created a law against it and I could get arrested. The younger generation threatened to go to the police if anyone still practised.

I found out about FIDA Kenya through a friend. The training provided by them made me realise that there is nothing to be gained from FGM – it causes early marriages and girls dropping out of school. Thanks to FIDA, girls know their rights so they can get an education and live independently.

Now I know the ills of FGM and I don’t want it in my community. I am teaching Maasai girls to reject FGM and embrace education. I often experience violence from their parents who want to continue the tradition. For me, it doesn't matter if they abuse me, as long as I can pass my message further.

Meeting FIDA Kenya changed my life.  When I complete the training, I will be able to join their support system and group therapy. My only daughter hasn’t had FGM and I will not let it happen. I want her to study, I want her to be economically empowered and have a bright future.”


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.