Excerpts from “How I survived the Unnecessary Cut”
Asha sensed danger. “My heart started throbbing with fear. I felt an imaginary pain. One innocent boy ran towards me, comforting me not to shed tears when she (the circumciser) arrived.”
Asha wondered about what the boy was saying. "Each time he talked to me, tears rolled down my cheeks. He knew I couldn’t withstand the brutal surgery.”
Asha composed herself and asked him what he was saying. Without hiding, he told her that women were planning to get ahold of her and forcefully cut her. “People were planning a big celebration to have me cut, change my life, and to become an adult. God created me full but they want me half.”
Asha’s luck came when Samuel Siriria Leadismo, the Director of Pastoralist Child Foundation (PCF) and his team visited her village creating awareness about FGM/C [Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting] and sexual reproductive health.
“They came at the right time when I needed someone to help me. The village girls weren’t scared as they had no escape. They waited to be cut in order to fit in the society. It was a godsend to be rescued by PCF. I knew I was safe in their hands. Immediately, other girls who were to be cut were saved from the planned cutting.”
Asha Leresh is from an extremely poor family in Archer's Post, Samburu County, Kenya. She has 4 siblings (ages approximately 13-22) and their mother passed away in August, 2014. The children are on their own as their father isn't in their lives and doesn't provide any financial support whatsoever. She's currently in Form 3 (Grade 11) and will graduate from St. Mary's Girls Secondary School in Isiolo in December, 2017.
Today, Asha and 6 other girls are role models in their community, and during all school holidays they volunteer, changing the lives of other girls by advising and giving them personal testimonies. PCF has taken the initiative to give the girls secondary school scholarships and help them become ambassadors of change in Samburu.
Women Thrive Alliance member Pastoralist Child Foundation works to eradicate FGM and forced early marriage in Samburu and Maasai Mara counties in Kenya. Mobilization, sensitization and Alternative Rites of Passage are the methods used to accelerate the abandonment of FGM. The foundation also provides scholarships (full tuition, examination fees, meals, medical, uniforms, backpack, school supplies, revision books, bedding, personal toiletries, personal lock box) for girls to attend secondary boarding schools.
>> Want to support the gender equality advocacy of Pastoralist Child Foundation and 250 organizations like them? Consider a donation to Women Thrive Alliance today!