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The latest years, BLACD has held courses for women in northern Egypt. Through the project's activities, 453 girls have been empowered to say no to female genital mutilation and to stop violence against them. Photo: BLACD

Egypt: Safaa found answers at BLACD's courses about female genital mutilation

In Egypt, Diakonia funds our partner organization BLACD's project about female genital mutilation. The latest years, 4,000 women and 200 men have taken part in the project. One of them is Safaa.

9/26/2013 Publisher: Julle Bergenholtz

Safaa was circumsised

BLACD's project operates in eight different villages in northern Egypt. Among the targeted villages is El-Hawarta Village, where Safaa lives. She is a 26 years old woman who was circumcised as a child.

"That day cannot be forgotten because of what happened to me," she says.

Suffered physically and mentally

Safaa has been married three times, and all but her last husband has ended up leaving her. This was due to her strong rejection of having sexual relationship with her husbands, as she was suffering physically and psychologically due to being subject to FGM. She would panic whenever her husband approached her as it reminded her of the day when she was forced to have FGM.

Found answers at BLACD's course

In the beginning, Safaa was not aware of her problem, but after attending the awareness seminars held by BLACD, in which the harmful effects of FGM were explained, she got the courage to break her silence and express her problem.

"When I attended seminars and meetings, I knew that the reason of rejecting him was FGM which I had been subjected to when I was a child," she says.

Safaa also succeeded in having a dialogue with her husband, who was also attending the seminars held for young men. Finally, the couple were able to have good relationship after understanding the cause of the problem and how to solve it.

Where BLACD works: In the eight villages where BLACD's project runs, 75 per cent of the population live below the poverty level and 85 per cent are employed in the rock and mineral industry, working in quarries, which can be both difficult and dangerous. In these areas there is also a strong prevalence of customs and traditions that violate children rights: early marriage, child labor and FGM.

BLACD's courses have made a difference

But BLACD has not only made a difference for Safaa. During the project, 1,454 family visits per year have been conducted, in order to increase the awareness on the harmful effect of FGM and early marriage. More than 4,000 girls and women, and 200 young men, raised their awareness on the harmful effect of FGM, early marriage, child rights, gender equality and AIDS.

BLACD's course also encouraged the participants to discuss issues that they never dared to discuss before regarding FGM and gender equality, and it has garnered much attemntion in local media for its results.