CAGeM staff has been providing special health education at our school for girls rescued from female genital mutilation. Rescued girls receive free primary education and if funded, will also receive free secondary and university education. The school also admits boys as they are vital to eradication of female genital mutilation. Boys are educated on the dangers of marrying a circumcised woman when they grow up. Most reasons for female genital mutilation involve men. Boys and girls are the future generation and sustained eradication of female genital mutilation will depend on them.
Because the school incorporates boys into the education program, the girls are assured that they will be able to marry men who do not support female genital mutilation in the future.
While the families of boys are required to contribute to their children's educational expenses, rescued girls are marginalized and have no family support. They are therefore completely financially supported by the CAGeM FGM rescue program which provides them with food, shelter, basic supplies, and education.
All girls in the rescue program either ran away from home escaping FGM, or were rescued from their community just before the procedure could occur. All girls receive maximum protection and their communities are targeted for eradication programs so that they can re-integrate into their communities without the risk of FGM. Parents receive special counseling to prevent female genital mutilation before their girls are released to them. CAGeM has re-integrated a total of 824 rescued girls back into their FGM free communities in 6 African countries. Most of these girls were actively involved as leaders in the eradication programs in their communities. They continued to receive education and career training after re-integration, eventually gaining employment or starting their own business. The girls are able to live healthy and financially secure lives without the pressure of FGM and contribute to the development of their communities.
Kumba Camara, one of our Rescue Leaders, went through the program and was re-integrated into her community after 6 years. "I'm now a nurse and can provide for my family. My mother is so proud of me though she was mad when I ran away at 11yrs old after my sister died of circumcision bleeding. She realizes that I would have never been able to help her if I was circumcised and married off with no education. I give free physicals and basic treatment to local women who cannot afford it. I'm very proud of myself for the stand I took against FGM in my community and leading the eradication movement here. It is my greatest accomplishment"
Thousands of girls escape FGM ever year; 3 million experience the procedure annually against their will. Our safe houses are not enough to accommodate all those at risk. CAGeM is actively seeking financial support to expand our safe houses and rescue programs so that every girl has a chance.
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