News

Little Raheeq saved from being cut.. other girls' turn is coming

12 February 2012

On her way home from work, a young journalist who received UNFPA training was excused by a public transport driver to drop by a store to buy candy and sweets. When she casually asked the driver what's the occasion, he told her that his family is planning to circumcise their young daughter.

On her way home from work, a young journalist who received UNFPA training was excused by a public transport driver to drop by a store to buy candy and sweets. When she casually asked the driver what's the occasion, he told her that his family is planning to circumcise their young daughter.

Once told the story behind buying sweets, the young journalist was determined to save the little the girl from being cut by talking to the young parents and try to convince them not to. She engaged into lengthy discussions and one-on-one awareness-raising with the young parents about the dangers of the harmful practice on their daughter's health and wellbeing.

"We decided not to cut our daughter," said Raheeq's mother. She said as parents, they are both convinced and will try to convince other parents in the community.

With UNFPA support, the anecdote led to the mobilization of the whole village of Elshegailab, south of Khartoum, in a festival that aimed at supporting the community and its school of 640 girl pupils to adopt collective abandonment of FGM.

A vibrant partnership between UNFPA, Teeba Press, Bait Alfunoon and Sega Company took the incident to the next level.

"Schools free of FGM" campaign was launched from inside the village's elementary school for girls where 150 volunteers kept busy all day. They renovated and painted the school as part of a whole-day event honouring the family, the school and the community for adopting the campaign on collective abandonment of FGM.

Beside UNFPA exhibit and volunteer work during the day, the evening part of the event drew a crowd of more than 300 people who were address by the partners and enjoyed live music and drama sketches.

Khartoum State Minister of Education, Yhaya Mukwar, praised the effort as combining both education and health. "Khartoum Sate Ministry of Education is a true partner with civil society organizations and UNFPA in support of our children's health and wellbeing," said the Minister.

"I am pleased with the level of awareness about FGM among Sudanese families," Said Pamela Delargy, UNFPA Acting Representative in Sudan.

UNFPA and partners are planning to replicate the effort in other communities by renovating more schools and supporting them to adopt the “Schools Free of FGM” campaign.