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Interview from Waris Dirie with Brazilian Newspaper Jornal O Tempo / Internacional

28 Nov

Please find enclosed the interview from Waris Dirie with the Brazilian Newspaper JORNAL O TEMPO / INTERNACIONAL published on their „SPECIAL 15th-YEAR EDITION“ and at their online magazine:,OTE&busca=waris&pagina=1


Hier findet ihr das Interview von Waris Dirie mit der Brasilianischen Zeitung JORNAL O TEMPO / INTERNACIONAL veröffentlicht in ihrer „SPECIAL 15th-YEAR EDITION“ und in ihrem Onlinemagazin:,OTE&busca=waris&pagina=1

Political changes in Egypt negatively affect the fight against FGM

30 Oct

As much as the end of the Mubarak regime was welcomed in Egypt and all over the world, the political uproar has resulted in a shift of attention away from issues such as female genital mutilation. FGM is still widely spread in Egypt, but had been steadily decreasing in recent years.

FGM had been outlawd in Egypt in 2007, after a 12-year-old girl died as a result of the procedure. Mubarak’s wife Suzanne Mubarak was one of the forces driving forward the fight against FGM. Even more importantly, political instability in post-Mubarak Egypt has resulted in grave cuts in the budgets of many anti-FGM campaigns.

“The revolution in Egypt, as in many other Northern African states that we are witnessing at the moment are a great chance to improve the situation of the women living in these countries. We should use this unprecedented opportunity to speak up on women’s rights in general and FGM in particular, especially since it remains such a big issue in Egypt!”, Waris Dirie says.

Please read the entire article on this development in The New Republic

Good news: Senegal embraces trend to end female genital cutting.

27 Oct

Good news from Senegal, read more:

Senegal embraces trend to end female genital cutting, an ARTICLE by CELINA W. DUGGER / The New York Times.


From the Desert to the Mission

17 Oct

Raise awareness wherever you can – please find enclosed Waris Dirie’s interview in UPTEMPO MAGAZINE!

Press review: Waris Dirie supports UK Police campaign against FGM

18 Jul

Waris Dirie’s support of a campaign by the UK Police against FGM in Great Britain has caused a vivid media reaction. Here are some of the articles published on the campaigns and Waris Dirie’s involvement in the past week.

“A campaign by the Metropolitan Police and Foreign Office will suggest that more than 22,000 girls under the age of 15 risk being taken abroad by their family for “cutting”, based on data from The International Centre for Reproductive Health”, writes the Independent.
“Campaigners say the victims are being failed by a lack of awareness from teachers and neighbours.”

“A supermodel is backing the launch a film highlighting the plight of young girls facing circumcision in the UK. Waris Dirie is supporting the project together with the Metropolitan Police to highlight the potentially fatal practice of female genital mutilation”, the UK newspaper The Daily Mail writes.

The campaign was also covered by the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics and the Scotsmen, amongst several other media.

Waris Dirie supports campaign against FGM in the UK

Neue Bilder der gemeinsamen Kampagne “Together for African Women” der Firma Mey und der Desert Flower Foundation

3 Jul

Seit vergangener Woche erscheinen in zahlreichen deutschen Medien neue Anzeigen der Mey Kampagne mit Waris Dirie.

together for african women

Bereits Anfang des Jahres hatten Mey und die Desert Flower Foundation die gemeinsame Kampagne “Together for African Women” vorgestellt. In ausgewählten Mey Shops sowie Online werden im Rahmen der Kooperation handgewebte Schals aus Äthiopien verkauft, die von äthiopischen Frauen unter fairen und nachhaltigen Arbeitsbedingungen hergestellt werden. Alle Erlöse des Verkaufs werden gemäß der Grundsätze der Desert Flower Foundation in Afrika reinvestiert.

Bereits die erste Fotostrecke von Waris Dirie für Mey hatte Anfang des Jahres einegroße Medienresonanz erzeugt.

Interview with Waris Dirie in FAB Magazine

27 Jun

FAB Magazine recently published an interview with Waris Dirie on her work, her beliefs and the movie “Desert Flower”. Here is a copy of this very interesting and personal interview:

1. Who is Waris Dirie?
Answers: Above all, I am a human being. I am also a woman, a mother, a human rights activist and a nomad. And many other things, too.

2. Tell us about your journey from Somalia to Austria?
I left my family when I was 14 years old to escape an arranged marriage to a much older man. What happened from there on was told in my book “Desert Flower”. I have travelled the whole world and I don’t think that I will every find a place where I will stay forever. I will always be a nomad.

3. You shocked the world in in 1997 by talking for the first time about your experience of FGM and have since continued campaigning against it. In your experience over the last 12 years both with your foundation and as a UN ambassador, to what extent do you think the circumstances have changed for young girls in parts of the world where FGM is still practised?
In the last 12 years, many countries have adopted laws against FGM. Awareness of this problem has increased tremendously, especially in Europe and Africa. However, my fight against this crime will continue until FGM is eradicated everywhere in the world. For a girl that is genitally mutilated, legal changes do not matter. I will fight until this crime is eradicated.

4. What does Waris Dirie foundation’s work involve?
Together with my team, I work to raise awareness on FGM through campaigns, speeches, interviews, lectures and by providing advice per email. In the last years, we have received more than 40,000 emails from all over the world. But we do not only focus on awareness. I am convinced that the only way to effectively eradicate FGM is to strengthen the position of women in the societies where FGM happens. To do this, we are developing and supporting now projects that create jobs and thereby a stable income for women in Africa. I believe that financial independence is a key factor for African women in gaining a stronger position within society.

5. There is still a lot of debate about FGM. What is your argument against those who support it as tradition?
FGM has nothing to do with culture, religion or tradition. It is a crime against humanity, and a crime committed on innocent little girls. It is a crime that needs to be stopped and those who commit it should be prosecuted.

6. Your life story is like a movie and it has been turned into one. What did you make of the movie’s portrayal of your life?
I was involved in the process of making this movie, from the script to choosing the actors to the final cut. When I met Sherry Horman, the director, for the first time, I told her what I wanted: that people should cry, but also laugh when they see this movie. There have been sad and funny, scary and wonderful moments in my life and I wanted the movie to reflect that. And I think it worked out really well.

7. In ‘Desert Flower’ you make the statement, ‘Let’s change what it means to be a woman.” How do you define being a Fabulous African black woman?
I define myself as a person that spreads LOVE and RESPECT. That’s what our world needs.

8. What would your advice be to young women who have suffered/survived FGM?
Respect your daughters, do not continue with this terrible torture. Talk about it, teach your family, friends and neighbours about the horrible consequences for the girls. Stand up for your rights.

9. What in your opinion is required to bring the wide-spread practice of FGM in some cultures to an end?
The standing and social recognition of women has to change in the societies where FGM continues to exist. What FGM really is about is the suppression of women. It is the most violent form of suppression of women one could think of, an attempt to control a woman by controlling her body and her sexuality. What really has to change is the perception of women.

10. What is next for Waris Dirie? What new projects are you working on?
As I said I am working on establishing projects in Africa to create sustainable and fairly paid jobs for women. Beating poverty and providing education are key in eradicating FGM.

Somali woman fights FGM in Somaliland and her new home Australia

12 Jun

Faduma Salah Musse from Somaliland is 49 years old. She has five children, with whom she fled her home country and has now been living in Australia for more than 15 years.

For more than ten years, Faduma Musse has been working for the local health service in her new hometown of Dandenong in Victoria, Australia. There, she helps educate immigrant women on sexual health, reproductive rights and on female genital mutilation.

Faduma Musse herself was mutilated in Somaliland when she was seven years old, an experience that she says she will never be able to forget. This is why, in addition to her work in Australia, Ms Musse travels to Somaliland regularly to try and raise awareness in local communities. “It is not easy”, she says “We have to push them along, talk to the men and women, because this is something they’ve been doing for a long time. They think if a girl is not circumcised a boy will not marry her, or she will become a prostitute.”


Read more examples of measures against FGM

German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle and Waris Dirie present human rights logo initiative in Berlin

3 May

Berlin – German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, together with jury members Waris Dirie and Erik Spiekermann officially opened the competition for an international human rights logo at a press conference in Berlin today. The competitions is open for applications until July 31, 2011. The goals is to find a universal and internationally recognised logo for human rights, comparable to the peace sign, which is understood all around the world.

The submissions will be presented to a prominent jury of human rights activists like Waris Dirie as well as designers, who will chose a winner to be presented at the UN General Assembly in New York in September 2011. „We are looking looking for a beautiful symbol that you will worship like the sun“, Waris Dirie said during the press conference.

Guido Westerwelle, Waris Dirie und Erik Spiekermann präsentieren Human Rights Logo Wettbewerb in Berlin

3 May

Symbole, ob nun ein Straßenschild mit einer Warnung vor Steinschlag oder ein Hinweis auf einen Behindertenparkplatz, haben eins gemeinsam: sie sind universell und vor allem international verständlich, da sie ohne Sprache auskommen. Auch Menschenrechte sind universell und sollten überall auf der Welt gelten. Dennoch gibt es bisher kein Symbol, das international und über sprachliche, religiöse und kulturelle Grenzen hinweg die Achtung der Menschenrechte symbolisiert.

„A Logo für Human Rights“ ist eine Initiative des Auswärtigen Amtes, die sich zum Ziel gesetzt hat, durch einen internationalen Wettbewerb ein solches Logo zu etablieren. Bis zum 31. Juli 2011 können online Entwürfe für ein universelles und internationales Menschenrechtslogo eingereicht werden. Eine Jury aus prominenten Designern wie Erik Spiekermann und bekannten Menschenrechtsaktivisten wie Waris Dirie wird in der Abstimmungsphase vom 27. August bi 27. September 2011 das Gewinnerlogo auswählen. Dieses wird dann in New York während der Generalversammlung der Vereinten Nationen präsentiert.

Die Jurymitglieder Waris Dirie und Erik Spiekermann stellten das Projekt heute gemeinsam mit Außenminister Guido Westerwelle in Berlin vor. Moderiert wurde die Veranstaltung von Michael Mittermaier.

Fotos via @Fontblog und @bunterberg