How 18-year old Dar girl escaped villainous FGM

29Jun 2016
Ndeninsia Lisley
The Guardian
How 18-year old Dar girl escaped villainous FGM

Anna Nicolous is an 18-year-old girl who in 2014 was rescued from undergoing female genital mutilation (FGM), but now she is one of the happiest girls in Dar es Salaam’s Kipunguni suburb.

Anna with her mother shortly after received a sewing machine offered by good Samaritans. Right is public voice group chairman Seleman Bishagazi.

Anna’s happiness came after being given a sewing machine thanks to Samaritans.

The support came after ‘The Guardian’ newspaper of January 11, 2016; reported the story on the girl, who courageously escaped from the barbaric traditional rituals, which are rare to be practiced in Dar es Salaam.

Being a first born in a family of four, the girl who lives with her single mother in Kipunguni area never attended any course soon after she completed her Standard Seven.

Speaking soon after receiving the machine from people who preferred anonymity, Anna commended for the support, which will make her realise her dreams.
Narrating the ordeal, the Kipunguni-based girl said in 2014, she was lined-up for circumcision after her aunties came from Mara Region to Dar es Salaam purposely to perform the traditional rituals (circumcision).

The girl comes from a family originated from Kurya tribe, where FGM is rampant.

“…but from nowhere I was rescued by activists from Sauti ya Wananchi Group in this area. I was taken to police’s gender desk and thereafter I was taken to, Kiota Women’s Health and Development (KIWOHEDE)” she said.

She added: “At KIWOHEDE I was trained on tailoring. After completing the six-month course I was released, but at home I couldn’t do anything as I had no sewing machine because my family did not have the means to buy one for me.”

“That’s why I thank all people who are behind this support. I believe this support will soon transform my life and of my family at large,” said the spirited girl, who lives with her single mother.

She however said: “I passed through a very hard time when I was to be circumcised. I use this opportunity to call upon the government and other stakeholders to put more effort on ending this barbaric practice, which has a negative effect women and their reproductive health.”

Kipunguni ward councilor, Mohamed Msofe suggested the need for more awareness campaigns against FGM.

For his party, a development stakeholder in the ward Dani Maragashimba promised to offer a sewing machine to any girl who would escape from undergoing FGM.

Chairman of the Sauti ya Wananchi Group, Seleman Bishagazi said for the past two years, the group has saved 50 girls from being circumcised since it was formed two years ago focused to abolish FGM.

He disclosed that some parents have been encouraging their girls to agree FGM by referring them to others girls who have undergone the practice by influencing them with gifts and money.

“Many families are poor with low income hence they were not ready to end the practice,” he noted.

He said the group is getting support from Tanzania Gender Networking Programme (TGNP) through training concerning FGM.

Anna will never forget December 08 2014, the day when she was to be circumcised the practice which was scheduled to take place at Kipunguni. However the girl managed to escape through support of her mother.

“I was not ready to be circumcised, I remember that day I escaped and mother supported me,” she disclosed.

“My mother helped me escape torturous FGM. She pretend that she knew nothing about my whereabouts,” she added.

Anna’s mother (Ambusila Yohana) said, “I was very upset when my sisters in-law came from the village just to circumcise my daughter”.

She explained that, sisters in-law blamed her that she was on her daughter’s side but had to pretend that she know nothing about her missing to maintain the relationship with the in-laws.

She said, since then she does not have good relations with the in-laws because of the incidence.

“They used to motivate girls with gifts and money which they can get during the practice as a family gets about 4m/- during the practice celebrations,” she noted.

Of late the practice has been taken as the source of income by many families, traditional elders who practice FGM and relatives due to gifts offered to a mutilated girl.

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