Leading figures in the fight to end female genital mutilation receive OBEs

By - World Healthcare Journal

Leading figures in the fight to end female genital mutilation receive OBEs

Nimco Ali, a victim of female genital mutilation says she is honoured to receive an OBE for her efforts to prevent other girls from being subjected to the practice. She joins a large host of inspirational figures receiving awards this year, including activists, Holocaust survivors, police officers, teachers and many more in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

In 2010 Nimco, 36, along with psychotherapist Dr. Leyla Hussein, founded the organisation Daughters of Eve. The non-profit was established to aid young women and girls who are at-risk, or have been subjected to, female genital mutilation (FGM). By raising awareness about FGM and sign-posting support services, the organisation aims to ultimately help bring an end to this practice.

Nimco herself underwent the procedure at age seven at a hospital in Djibouti while on holiday with her family. This caused health complications leading to reconstructive surgery later in her life. This harrowing experience, as well as meeting other females who had also been incised, inspired her to assist at-risk girls, and to call for the practice's eradication.

She has been fighting to break silence among survivors ever since being told FGM “is what happens to girls like you” by one of her teachers at just seven years old. Now her work and that of other campaigners has now brought the issue to the forefront of the public consciousness. Dr. Leyla Hussein, also a child victim of the practice, was honoured alongside her for their work in this field.

Speaking on the government’s commitment to funding projects which tackle FGM in Africa, Ms. Ali said she was accepting the honour on behalf of all those affected by the practice on the continent. “There are incredible women on the front line in Africa who are fighting to end FGM,” she says.

“I’m immensely privileged. FGM was a ridiculous thing that happened to me, but I also had access to education; I had access to freedom that allows me today to sit here and say that I am a survivor of FGM, but also to say I am honoured to receive this on behalf of all of the African women whose shoulders I sit on to be here today.

“In 2019 we are at the tipping point,” she adds. “I know by 2030 we can live in a world where FGM is not practiced. ”

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