Last updated 6 months ago
The Village Executive Officer (VEO) called the Helpline for assistance on a case concerning 16-year-old Sarah (not her real name) who was almost a victim of FGM.
The VEO went on to explain that Sarah's parents had sent her to stay with her aunt under the ruse that the aunt needed to teach Sarah a few cultural things a young girl should learn in their tribe (kufundwa). Sarah agreed and went to her aunt’s village, one day when her uncle and aunt weren't around a group of Ngaribas attacked her wanting to circumcise her, fortunately she was able to run away.
One of our counselors had a lengthy conversation with Sarah and she told us she suspected her parents had orchestrated the entire ordeal which meant she could not go back home in fear of the situation repeating itself.
The counselor asked the VEO to take care of Sarah for some time while trying to find ways to help her. The case was referred to the Police Gender Desk (PGD) and to a Social Welfare Officer. The two parties tried contacting the family to no avail.
After a couple of days, with the help of the SWO and PGD Sarah was taken to Masanga (An Association for the termination of FGM) while the local leaders and Police worked to put her aunt, uncle, and parents in custody.
The following week our counselor called the SWO and VEO to follow up and was informed that Sarah was safe and was taking training classes on how to sew and make soap at the Masanga center. The police and the VEO are still looking for the perpetrators.
One in ten women from the ages of 15 to 49 has undergone FGM in Tanzania. The statistics are staggering. We have to work together as a community and a country to root out Female Genital Mutilation.