Fifteen-year-old Confridah started high school with excitement. She excelled in her studies and had plans to go to a university in the future. Her father had different plans.
He had secretly found a husband for his daughter, and keeping with the custom in many parts of Kenya, he was going to have her circumcised.
Female circumcision, more accurately known as female genital mutilation (FGM), is a pervasive cultural practice that scars, damages, and sometimes even kills the women and girls who undergo the process. Age is rarely a factor, with reports of girls as young as 4 and 5 years old being circumcised.
When Confridah learned of her father’s intentions, she ran away from home. She wanted to stay in school and receive an education, not become a tragic statistic. Church leaders sheltered her until she was able to connect with ADRA, an agency she was assured could help her.
ADRA works hard to eradicate FGM in Kenya by implementing programs like the Girls’ Empowerment project. These programs educate girls about their body and their rights, as well as rescue girls whose body and rights are being violated.
Also provided are life skills workshops that teach vulnerable girls and their families the value of a healthy woman and provide assistance in vocational training and school enrollment.
Thanks to the Girls’ Empowerment project in Kenya, 670 girls have been saved from FGM.
Confridah is one of those girls. ADRA helped reenroll her in school, and she is now an academic and female rights mentor with the ADRA school program, Kenya’s Girls’ Club. The 20 girls in this club meet regularly to organize community outreach so they can encourage and empower other young girls.
ADRA believes in the power of women like Confridah, whose passion ignites people around her to create change.