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Somali supermodel Waris Dirie wants to save all little desert flowers

When she fled her home at age 13, award-winning human rights activist Waris Dirie may have never envisioned herself leading a worldwide campaign that will aim to save millions girls around the world from being mutilated or cut. 

Waris Dirie with two young girls (Photo: The Desert Flower Foundation)

The life story of Warie Dirie speaks for itself.  Dirie was born into a nomad family living in the Somali desert near the border to Ethiopia in 1965, her online biography stated. She was forced to undergo the "inhuman" procedure of female genital mutilation at the tender age of 5. Later on, she was forced to marry a man who was old enough to be her grandfather.


"Mama tied a blindfold over my eyes. The next thing I felt my flesh was being cut away. I heard the blade sawing back and forth through my skin," Waris Dirie said. "The pain between my legs was so intense I wished I would die."

As shown in her movie 'Desert Flower', she fled her homeland and arrived in London. There, 18-year-old Dirie was discovered by Terence Donovan, one of the Britain's leading fashion photographers. The movie 'Desert Flower' was based on her international best-selling biography 'Desert Flower: The Extraordinary Journey of a Desert Nomad.' Waris Dirie was one of the first African models to run the runway.

"30 millions girls, just in Africa are threatened by this war. We mourn of 3 million victims every year. Little girls die, are tortured brutally and will suffer their whole life on the consequences," former United Nations Goodwill Ambassador Warie Dirie said." The name of this war: FGM. The goal of this war: humiliation and destruction of their souls."

A little desert flower saved (Photo: The Desert Flower Foundation)

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), female genital mutilation (FGM) includes procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. The female genital mutilation (FGM) procedure, which has no health benefits for girls and women, can cause severe bleeding and problems urinating, and later cysts, infections, infertility as well as complications in childbirth and increased risk of newborn death. 

More than 125 millions girls and women alive today have been cut or mutilated in the 29 countries in Africa and Middle East, WHO stated. FGM is mostly performed on young girls between infancy (0 year) and age 15. WHO stated the female genital mutilation (FGM) or cutting is a violation of the human rights of girls and women. 

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