Tuesday, June 25, 2024
Wardheer News
  • Health & Social Affairs
  • News
  • Slideshow
  • Women Corner

Veteran Somali female circumciser swaps razor blade for a softer trade after cutting 10,000 girls

Veteran Somali women who earned a living carrying out female genital mutilation (FGM) have stopped the harmful practice after receiving education and skills training from a local grassroots women’s organisation in Kismayo, southern Somalia. They are earning decent incomes from selling dyed cloth and making incense in the market and managing to support their families and educate their children.
Former female genital circumciser Sahra making a new living from dyeing and selling cloth in Kismayo/Ahmed Abdi/Ergo

Sahra Mohamud Dool, 55, estimates that she must have cut more than 10,000 Somali girls during her 15 years working as a circumciser in southern Somalia’s Kismayo.

The last time she used her razor blade to perform a female genital mutilation (FGM) was in January. But since then, she has acquired new skills and is managing to support her six children from a very different trade.

In September, Sahra started earning income by dyeing and selling cloth in Kismayo market, after being trained by local grassroots organisation Hablo-Kaab.

“I take eight items of cloth and sell them making a dollar from each, so if I sell all eight pieces I take $8 home and return the cost of the dyes to the organisation. I use the money to take care of my children and pay their school,” she told Radio Ergo.

“I am a mother and a mother knows how to take care of her children.”

Sahra admits that performing FGM on girls exposed many of them to dangers of complications in childbirth when the stitches ruptured. The girls would mostly be accompanied by their parents to force them to submit. She often performed the painful practice on three girls a day earning $10-20 for each circumcision.

“I used to earn from that business, it was a good business,” she said.

However, Sahra was among 36 female circumcisers educated and provided with a new source of income in a campaign initiated by Hablo-Kaab aiming to eradicate FGM.

“We were told by the religious leaders and the radio stations that it was not a good practice and I decided to stop. I have got education and an alternative source of income. I have stopped,” Sahra declared.

Although her income is less now, she still pays $28 in school fees for her children, including two daughters.

Nunay Yusuf Adan, 65, also put aside her cutting equipment after being educated and trained by Habla-Kaab in cloth dyeing and making incense perfumes. This mother of 13 children now earns $5-10 a day from cloth dyeing, which is enough to support her family.

The director of Hablo-Kaab, Maryan Mahdi Adan, said they hope to reduce FGM cases through awareness and offering alternative sources of income to circumcisers.

“Before they took the skills training, we spent two months talking to them. We brought religious leaders to deal with the misinformation and the long-held stereotypes,” Maryan said.

Maryan told Radio Ergo they targeted veteran FGM cutters who mostly have no other sources of income, hoping their approach will lead towards eradication of the harmful practice.

Source: Radio Ergo

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.