Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Waris Dirie

This Somali-born super-model is an example of exotic and breathtaking beauty. She is also an absolute pillar of strength. This woman now works for the United Nations as the Special Ambassador for the Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation, a topic she understands first-hand.
A lot of people are either unfamiliar with the idea of female genital mutilation, or they severely underestimate its existence. "Between 100 million and 140 million women have undergone genital mutilation worldwide, and 2 million girls are at risk each year." This practice is most common in African and Middle Eastern nations and cultures. An article I read this morning, however, made me aware of the rising number of cases in Britain.
Dirie puts her career and her privacy on the line every day for millions of children and young women across the world. She is able to draw upon her own story to encourage others who have had the procedure. The process she underwent was very often fatal; it took the lives of her sister and her cousins.
Dirie believes that the best thing we, as individuals, can do to stop this is to raise awareness. She said, "It’s got to be kept in the newspapers, it’s got to be talked about - and that’s the way people can help and to know what’s going on. Because mostly they don’t know what’s going on. Most of the world doesn’t know it’s going on, and it happens."
This strong, beautiful woman is a beacon, shining light on the dark things we wish we could ignore. I applaud her strength and her mission, and I hope she continues to make the world a better place.

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