“We want to help save other girls from FGM”
“In the past, my girlfriends and I used to chat about when and how our FGM would take place and what kind of a ceremony would follow. Nowadays, we talk about what we can do to end FGM.
“Because FGM is a part of our history and a respected tradition, it was something we girls were looking forward to and wanted to go through - even though we did not know exactly what it meant.
"When Plan International set up the Uncut Girls’ Club at our school, I was not happy about it. I did not think it was a good idea to stop FGM. When the people from Plan International explained to our class the consequences of FGM, I completely changed my mind and decided to join the Uncut Girls’ Club.
“When my friends and I decided to save ourselves from this monstrosity, we also decided we would have to help save other girls.”
"We are proud we have not been cut"
“My parents made the decision to spare all their daughters from FGM even before Plan International started spreading information in our village.
“Two of my older sisters decided to have the procedure of their own free will. They were afraid that, unless they were cut, they would be bullied and no-one would want to marry them. They took on odd jobs to collect the money for the procedure, and the traditional circumciser in our village did it with a razor blade. My parents were furious and my sisters lived with our neighbour for some time. Finally, my parents forgave them.
"It is not always easy for us that everyone knows we are uncut. When we go to get water from the well or when we are walking to school, people point at us and laugh, because we have not been cut according to the tradition. Some people think that we are not clean and obedient.
"I dare to speak out about the perils of FGM"
“I used to be embarrassed to talk about FGM, because the topic was completely taboo in our community. At Uncut Girls’ Club I have gained the courage to see that there is nothing mysterious or respectable about the topic.
“We have decided to save ourselves from this cruel tradition and help other girls too. Now there are so many of us, I am no longer embarrassed. I dare to speak out about the perils of FGM even at the market or church.
“Mostly, I educate my friends who are not yet members of Uncut Girls’ Club. When other girls ask why the club members are uncut, we tell them that FGM can cause bleeding, pains and complications during pregnancy and birth, and it can also spread HIV.”
"My mother avidly opposes FGM"
“I know a girl suffered because of her FGM. There was a lot of blood, and the girl could not go to the hospital, because her family was scared they would be punished. FGM is prohibited by Ethiopian law and the people risked being fined.
“My friend was treated by the traditional circumciser, with traditional methods. She had a bad infection and was in bed for over a month. She is still in a lot of pain and she also has a scar that will surely complicate delivering babies.
“When I heard of her experience, I decided I would not go through the same. My mother was puzzled by my decision and asked me why I did not want to be a part of this respected tradition. When I told her the things I have learnt at school and at Uncut Girls’ Club, she began to fully support me.”
"the club gave me the courage to say no"
“The Uncut Girls’ Club gave me the opportunity to change my attitude. Now I want to offer others the same chance. In the past, everything connected to FGM felt intimidating.
“The club has increased the self-confidence of us girls in many ways. As we have the courage to speak out on a sensitive matter, we also dare to speak out in class and answer just as eagerly as the boys.
“I think that the appreciation for girls and women in our society will grow, the more active and better informed girls become. In the past parents would rather just send their boys to school, but this is starting to change as a result of Plan International’s work.
“When I grow up, I want to have a daughter. And she will not be cut.”