Ask me something! / Fragt mich was!

10 Jun

Whenever I log onto facebook, I notice that many people try to talk to me there and I hardly ever find the time to answer. This is why I decided to start a question and answers category on this blog. Once a week, I will post an “Ask me something!” and then try to answer all thge questions you leave in the comment section. Let’s give it a try!



Immer wenn ich mich bei Facebook einlogge sehe ich, dass viele von euch versuchen mit mir zu chatten. Leider habe ich fast nie Zeit dort zu antworten, deshalb wird es ab jetzt eine wöchentliche Fragestunde auf diesem Blog geben. Stellt einfach eure Fragen in den Kommentaren zu diesem Eintrag und ich werde versuchen, alles so gut wie möglich zu beantworten. Los geht’s!



36 Responses to “Ask me something! / Fragt mich was!”

  1. Psychosocial Initiatives Foundation June 10, 2010 at 9:54 am #

    Hello Waris,
    We are small organization in Poland, first one which decided to start campaign against FGM in our country. I wanted to ask if there is any possibility to invite you to Poland if we organize press conference?
    Thank you for all you work. I keep my fingers crossed for all you do, not only against FGM but also with you new projects supporting Africa.

  2. warisdirie June 10, 2010 at 11:43 am #

    Thank you for the first question and for fighting against FGM in Poland! I am currently in Africa and do not yet know when I will be coming back to Europe (as you may know, I have a small baby and can not be flying back and forth easily…). But I will let you know when I am back!


    • Psychosocial Initiatives Foundation June 10, 2010 at 2:49 pm #

      Thank you quick reply! We know very well that you are in Africa and you have small baby and of course we do not want you to fly back and forth. When you be back in Europe, maybe than we could organize press conference in Poland.
      Best regards!

  3. Lee Battle June 10, 2010 at 1:39 pm #

    Hi Waris,

    I hope that you are doing well, I wanted to ask about your views on Forced Marriage and would you be able to do a quote for me ?

    I am waorking on some forced marriage awarenesss training programmes in the UK and I know that your work is mainly with FGM which I think is linked into the issue of Forced Marriage.

    I would really look forward to hearing from you.

    With Best Regards


    • warisdirie June 11, 2010 at 7:39 am #

      Dear Lee,

      what kind of programme are you working on?

      I often address FGM and forced marriage together because I think both are very brutal symptoms of the suppression of women. I also think that the only way to eradicate them is to strengthen women – not only in their rights but also in their social status and self-esteem!


      • Lee Battle June 12, 2010 at 5:51 pm #

        Hi Waris,

        The programme is an awareness training programme for professionals and ‘at risk’ individuals so we are hoping to go and teach the programmes in schools.
        With the ultimate aim of helping people understand the complexity and difficulties around the subject so that they can confidently deal with the issue correctly and without putting people in more danger.

        In the UK it is seen as a ‘cultural’ issue which people are afraid to tackle but it isn’t a cultural issue its a human issue and it simply must stop but statistics are conveying that it occuring more and more.

        Modern day slavery.

        Best Regards

  4. Alexandra K. June 10, 2010 at 3:02 pm #

    Dear Waris,
    your life is so inspiring, I wonder where do you find all your strenght. You are amazing!
    I’m psychologist and everyday I work with refugees from all over the world. I’m trying to understand how they feel to help them better. According to this I wanted to ask, what was the most difficult for you when you first time came to Europe. What helped you to deal with adaptation to new culture? (have you ever been talking with psychologist about difficulties you have been going through?)
    Sorry for asking all those questions, but it will be very helpfull for me in my work and I won’t find it in psychological books.
    With best regards

    • warisdirie June 11, 2010 at 7:30 am #

      Dear Alexandra,

      thank you for your message. It is great that you support refugees through your work!
      You’re question is very difficult and I don’t think I can give you a satisfying answer. Adapting to a new environment is always difficult, but I also think it is a very individual process that is different for everyone. This is why I think it’s great that you provide refugees with psychological help. Just keep doing what you do, you can’t go wrong with listening to them!


      • Alexandra K. June 13, 2010 at 6:52 pm #

        Thank you very much for your reply! I’ll do my best to help all refugees who come to me.
        woth best regards

  5. Metasebia Tesfaye June 10, 2010 at 9:35 pm #

    Hi Waris Thank you for creating this page for those of us who bother you much by Knocking now and then when you are online. I always get angry when you keep silent while I say “hello”. Anyways, thank you for being so wise as i read you in your book “Desert Flower”.
    I suppose this time you are in Ethiopia and I’m happy to hear that.I read that you have projects in Africa and would love to know your plan in Ethiopia.

    I also would love to know if you are going to appear on Ethiopian Televsion and share your mission on FGM. This is still the most important issue to be dicussed in order to save our little sister.

    How is your schedule going on in Ethiopia? Hope you are having good time with Liya too.


    • warisdirie June 11, 2010 at 7:43 am #

      Dear Meti,

      you never bother me, I love to hear from people, but it is simply impossible to ever get off facebook again once I start to try chatting with 20 people at once…

      Yes, I am really enjoying Ethiopia, it is so great to be back in East Africa and I love spending time with my family here.

      During the first few weeks of my stay I was travelling with my team, visiting projects and enterprises here. You can find some of them on this blog already. Now I am spending time with my mother, brother, sister, nephews, nieces and of course my son while I work on showing the movie Desert Flower here in Ethiopia.

      Lots of LOVE to you,

  6. Milad Qamhat Maahes June 11, 2010 at 5:20 pm #

    Does the African Sun feed your indomitable spirit?

    • Metasebia Tesfaye June 12, 2010 at 10:32 pm #

      Thank you Waris for your kind words. I know why you are always my special.

      If you happened to pass by Hilton Addis Ababa, before your departure from Ethiopia, I’m there and would love to meet you in person too.

      Wish you all the best and keep shining.


  7. Carmen June 12, 2010 at 6:32 pm #

    Dear Ms Dirie,
    I really admire you for your work and your fight against FGM. My parents are from DR Congo and these mutilations are not applied in their respective tribes. I heard of FGM for the first time in France, where I grew up (I was born in Switzerland) and knew it as the ablation of the clitoris – which I already found horrible – practised among some Senegalese and Malian tribes. When I saw your movie and discovered about this other type of mutilation you suffered, I couldn’t say a thing for a few minutes.

    Do you know that FGM is not considered such a bad thing in some communities? I have already heard from Gambian people that excision was “not meant to mutilate women, but because of the tradition. Moreover, they just cut a small part of the clitoris. Women who are cut enjoy sex more than the ones who are not cut”
    Ms Dirie, do you think that the problem of FGM should be treated differently according to the type?
    If in the case of The Gambia and other countries where women endure “milder” mutilations, if it is not done to oppress women, then why?
    Thanks in advance.

    • warisdirie June 13, 2010 at 8:56 am #

      Dear Carmen,

      thank you for your message. You addressed a very important aspect of the fight against FGM, namely the way that people try to explain, justify and even excuse it.

      FGM is a grave human rights abuse regardless of the “type” or “degree” of mutilation. I have heard many justifications for FGM, but ultimately, FGM is always about suppressing female sexuality. Think about it: how could cutting off the most sensitive part of the body do a woman anything good, let alone let her enjoy sex more?! The WHO clearly states that “has no health benefits, and it harms girls and women in many ways. It involves removing and damaging healthy and normal female genital tissue, and interferes with the natural functions of girls’ and women’s bodies.”

      No matter how people justify FGM, whether it is tradition or religion, it is ultimately always about suppressing women and the desire to “control” their sexuality.


      • Carmen June 13, 2010 at 10:31 am #

        Thank you for your quick reply! Well, I always thought that “tradition” is not a satiyfying answer as a tradition always originates from a special event, fact or intent.
        No medical necessity = no use. You’re right, that’s the point. That justification is quite absurd but it works, men and even women who are cut themselves believe it. We’ll have to work on that.


  8. Michaela June 13, 2010 at 6:48 am #

    Hello Ms. Dirie. I just watched our movie and it was one of the most touching movies I’ve ever witnessed in my life. Is it possible for me to work alongside with you in activism against FGM. I know that others and myself would love to meet you someday!

    • warisdirie June 14, 2010 at 2:06 pm #

      Dear Michaela,

      thank you!

      Everyone can help eradicate FGM. Talk about is! Make sure that nobody can ever say they did not know something this horrible even existed. And most importantly: keep your eyes open around you to make sure a threat to a child never goes unnoticed!


  9. Susi June 13, 2010 at 6:38 pm #

    Hi Waris!

    We have so much in common that I am very sad not knowing you personally.
    I live in Vienna and would really like to help you somehow, but how?

    As a mother of 2 girls (7,1)I felt so much with you while reading your books! Incredible that someone could do this to her/his own daughter!
    I am the only one of 5 kids who had the possibility to grow up here. My sisters and my brother live in Egypt. My father “owns” them …and I can’t even help THEM,because they don’t realy want my help (they don’t know better),so I can imagine how hard it is talking to women who suffered FGM and are ok with it.
    All my love,

    • warisdirie June 14, 2010 at 2:15 pm #

      Dear Susi,

      thank you so much for your very personal message! I can imagine how you feel, it is very difficult to accept that someone does not “want” to free herself of suppression. You are very strong for living an independent life and looking beyond cultural restrictions.

      I wish you and your family all the love!

      • Susi June 16, 2010 at 1:30 pm #

        Sorry ..I have one more really important question!
        How did your mother react when she saw desert flower???

  10. Moe June 17, 2010 at 5:46 am #

    when is your current book will be available in English?

    • warisdirie June 17, 2010 at 7:52 am #

      Dear Moe,

      unfortunately, I do not know an exact date yet, but some time later this year. You will be the first to know here!


  11. Carmen July 2, 2010 at 11:48 am #

    Dear Waris,

    there’s a book which came out lately about FGM… but in French!
    It’s “Le darame de l’excision” by Louisiane Doré-Miloch. She’s now a painter and sculptor and dicovered FGM some years ago when she used to be a nurse.

  12. Romy Sachse July 25, 2010 at 4:53 pm #

    Sehr geehrte Frau Waris,

    ich habe heute “Ihren” Film Wüstenblume gesehen. Ich wußte zwar, daß es auf der Welt solche Rituale gibt und habe diese schn immer verabscheut., aber noch nie ist das den Menschen so deutlich gezeigt worden.

    Ich bewundere Sie und Ihre Arbeit und die Kraft die Sie in sich tragen.

    Ich habe drei Kinder, zwei davon Mädchen, und meine Jüngste ist gerade drei Jahre. Aber ich würde lieber sterben als meinen Töchtern so etwas anzutun.
    Falls Sie Hilfe für Ihre Arbeit benötigen, ich würde Sie gern unterstützen. Alles Gute und viel Kraft für Sie und Ihr Baby. Gott segne Sie! Liebe Grüße von Romy Sachse aus Laenstein/Erzgebirge

    • Lenka Eckert November 23, 2010 at 7:44 pm #

      Hi Waris,
      I don`t speak so much Englisch , it is possible to write Germany? I try .
      I am 36 Years old ( have a Family) from Czech Republic , but now I live 9 Yers in Germany. I readed your book and it is big inspiration for sommething to do for helping another Peopel.I am study 4th year Photography and now I like to do for my exam a Photography Reportage about a Help Projekt in Afrika. Meaby do you have a Idea. I like whit this Work to Help.Im very sorry for my Englisch.
      I which you and your Baby all best!
      Whit best regards Lenka

  13. Sasa Buckova July 26, 2010 at 3:42 pm #

    Dear Waris, my name is Sasa, I live in Slovakia, Central Europe. I have bought your first book 2 years ago and now the film which is on show in Europe reminded me I have wanted to contribute to your campaign (as a private person, volunteer). I have some questions:
    1. What kind of help you need most for the moment for your campaign?
    2. Is there anything which could be done from my country to contribute?
    I have found the following ways I can help right now, if this kind of help is needed:
    1. translations into Slovak and Spanish – I can do that free of charge
    2. collecting signatures in Slovakia
    3. findind someone who would for free illustrate booklets explaining why to stop FGM with the text from you
    4. I would also be able to translate your books into Slovak. I have no idea about the publishing policy of your books and maybe some publishing house here in Slovakia has already dealt with it. If not, I would be interested in translating them making a contract with a publishing house here. I make some extra money translating and I try to find translations with extra value for the readers if possible. Let me know please if there is anything which would help you from my side.
    Take care and all the best,

  14. Clara August 19, 2010 at 6:06 pm #

    dear waris,
    it is so difficult to find a job as a volunteer in africa.
    can you help me?
    i´m looking for an organisation which works against fgm. i would like to work for such an organisation and help directly in africa. but most of those organisations have their own staff. i would love to work there and support this essential work.
    with best regards

  15. Maren, Fillo, Sarah November 3, 2010 at 7:24 pm #

    Dear Waris,

    We are three students from Germany and we are doing a school project about FGM and especially about you and your foundation. We are 17 years old and we are very interested in getting some information about this problem. We would like to support you and to call people’s attention.
    We wanted to ask you, wether we could do an interview with you. If you give us your e-mail adress we could send you some questions. It would be very nice from you, to answer our questions because it is really important to us and our project.

    We are looking forward to hearing from you soon,
    kind regards
    Maren, Fillo, Sarah

  16. Maryna December 13, 2010 at 10:55 am #

    Dear Waris,
    After watching “Desert Flower” I can’t stay calm. I live close to Munich and looking for the ways to help African girls.
    I am professional in biology, chemistry, speak English, German, Russian. May I be helpful?

    Best wishes,

  17. Sebastian January 16, 2011 at 12:47 pm #

    I am just back from Addis.
    Have spent 2 weeks and had a great time there. Met very nice and friendly people. Talked also about FGM with a young student. He was well informed about the situation in Ethiopia. Specially at the country side, he said, it´s very common. And I visited “Menschen für Menschen”. I am convinced it´s an NGO with good projects. They are also fighting against FGM. Maybe you should get connected? I had even a short speech with Mrs. Almaz Böhm. Very impressive.

  18. Razak November 9, 2013 at 4:29 pm #

    HI,waris am a ghanaian and a student of a Health institution,and wish i can join ur foundation in a quest to fighting this menace in Ghana and africa as a whole.


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