It was late at night, when several women stormed our house and kidnapped my sister. They just took her out of her bed, held her arms and legs. The next morning the women brought my sister back. She seemed lifeless, exhausted by the horror she went through that night. She became a victim of an incredibly brutal female genital mutilation. Years later, my sister was one of the first women who actively stood up against FGM in Sierra Leone.
I became a Catholic priest and worked in several African countries. Again and again I was confronted with FGM. A few years ago, I was appointed director of Caritas in Sierra Leone, which built schools, hospitals and health centers in our country, still suffering from the civil war. In my new job, I was confronted with FGM again, because more than 94% of women in Sierra Leone are affected by it.
I started to look for a partner with whom I could do something against this injustice. A friend told me about the Desert Flower Foundation and about the good work they do. During a trip to Europe I met the Foundation managers and we developed a project for Sierra Leone.
70% of people in Sierra Leone live from less than 30 USD per month. With this amount of money they can hardly feed their children, not to mention sending them to school or paying a doctor’s visit. The Desert Flower Foundation project “Save a little desert flower” is perfect for my country. Sponsors from all over the world can support girls in Africa with small money and their parents commit themselves not to mutilate their daughters. We decided to found Desert Flower Foundation in Sierra Leone and to save as many girls as possible from this cruel practice.
The Desert Flower team came to Sierra Leone; together we organized presentations across the country. Many people attended our presentations and were willing to sign sponsorship contracts. 250 contracts were signed only in the first week. By the end of this year, we hope to get 1000 contracts, in Sierra Leone and to save 1000 girls.
Next year we will open the first Desert Flower Center in Sierra Leone, because many women have major health problems due to the mutilation. Please support us. I will regularly report about our work on this website.
God bless you!
Reverend Father Peter Konteh