My mission statement~

I intend on "trying" to live a life that is about: not putting in my mouth things that are bad for me or have come from an animal that was treated cruely while alive on this earth and during slaughter, creating lasting fond memories for my children and grandchildren, adventure, challenging myself, respect others regardless of species, race, color or creed, taking risks, having fun, being grateful, respecting myself & my body, being authentically myself, taking responsibility for my actions, being proactive, being a problem solver, taking action, introspection, transition, change, honesty, growth, loving & helping others, having integrity, doing my best, being easy on myself, enjoying this world, becoming well read, seeing the wonder of it all and never allowing fear to hold me back!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

UNICEF Somalia Newsletter from Megan~

Speaking out against the ‘painful journey’ of female genital mutilation/cutting
As the world reads about problems of conflict and violence in
Somalia, a remarkable woman, Shamis, who will be 70 next
year, is working to spread peace through education.
In her village of Arabsiyo, Somaliland, Shamis is well-known.
She is described by community members as dynamic, humble,
open, and always available to help others. She became involved
in community education while working as a birthing attendant.
She witnessed the extraordinary pain experienced by women
who had undergone female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C)
while giving birth. She decided to take a stand against FGM/C
and started raising awareness of the risks and dangers of the
Shamis urged women to remember “the painful journey you’ve
had in your life,” speaking of FGM/C and the resulting pain
during childbirth, and to “keep these pains from your daughters”.
Using her own financial means, she organized women
and funded activities for the promotion of the abandonment of
FGM/C and child/forced marriage.
Shamis welcomed the UNICEF/Tostan Community Empowerment
programme to the village of Arabsiyo with open arms.
She saw it as an opportunity to collaborate and further spread
information about women’s and children’s rights. She was
chosen as the Coordinator of the Arabsiyo Community Management
Committee (CMC), a committee established in each
village to oversee the community empowerment process and to
coordinate community activities linked to information learned in
class sessions.
Shamis quickly proved to be one of the most active and effective
CMC leaders in Somaliland.
Under her leadership and after learning about human rights
and the risks involved in undergoing FGM/C, 40 participants
from the Arabsiyo class visited eight neighbouring communities
to exchange and discuss what they’d learned about FGM/C.
Shamis also participated in an inter-village meeting to promote
FGM/C abandonment in surrounding communities. She spoke
publicly of men’s responsibilities to help end FGM/C on June
25 2008, at an event in the town of Mohamed Mogge.
She told the large crowd that by refusing to marry women who
have not been cut, men play a strong role in the perpetuation
of FGM/C as a social convention.
She reached out to men in the audience to show their respect
for human dignity and women’s rights by standing up as fathers,
husbands, and brothers and refusing to accept the practice.
Her speech was met with enthusiastic applause from men
and women alike.
Another example of initiatives taken under Shamis’s leadership
can be seen in four women who are candidates in the upcoming
election for seats in the National Assembly. Previously,
women did not realize they had the right to run for office.
They credit the Community Empowerment Programme sessions
for making them aware of their right to vote and be
elected, and explain that if they weren’t running for office, they would be neglecting their responsibility to put into action what
they’ve learned. “If we don’t actually dare to run for office, we will not be applying
this important information from our new education sessions
on democracy.” Shamis was the first to encourage them to run
on a platform promoting the improvement of community health
and education in Arabsiyo.
Shamis also encourages the younger participants to be proactive
and share their new information with others.
One young man says that before the Community Empowerment
Programme, he had never learned about democracy and
human rights, but now he believes that awareness of human
rights can lead to an end to violence and contribute to building
peace. He therefore plans on starting a Community Empowerment
class for other students at his high school with support
from Shamis.
Shamis’s motivation is contagious.
With the help of Tostan, UNICEF, and the Government of
Somaliland, she has succeeded in mobilizing hundreds of people
for the campaign to raise awareness of human rights, but
she knows there is still much work to be done.
Her aspirations for the years to come are to reduce the illiteracy
rate in her community, to continue to encourage women to
participate actively in decision-making processes, to improve
women and children’s health and to promote sustainable development.
With her courage and boundless energy, Shamis is an inspiration
to girls and women throughout the world who seek to make
a difference.
Shamis speaks to participants at an advocacy forum against FGM/C
in Arabsiyo.© 12-08/Tostan


Amanda said...

The whole idea of what goes on in Africa breaks my heart everyday

Deb said...

When I first learned of this horrid act on the Oprah show years ago, I was appalled. Of course, this barbaric act should be abolished.
I tried your link but it didn't work.

Lisa Loo said...

I too tried the link with no luck---I had never heard of this before. There is so much suffering going on--it can be overwhelming. Thanx for sharing this...

Lisa Loo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mechelle said...

I just don't understand this. I just don't. How?

I could not get the link to work. I will try again.

Thanks for the post. You are wonderful to bring this information to light. m

Cynthia said...

Wow. It really puts your own issues into perspective when you hear about the atrocities others must bear. I hope this practice can be eliminated. What a terrible thing to do. There just aren't words for it.

And how proud you should be of Megs- sacrificing time in her life to make a difference. You done good raising that girl!

in time out said...

Wow, what a mind blowing rhetorically moving piece you have here. I love your blog. I have really been depressed but this makes me feel that I am just a whiner. thanks for the read.

Tink said...

I've heard of this and read about it and it's horrible! Makes me feel so sad for these women.

in time out said...

Have a valentine for you. Thanks for reading my blog; come by, right click on it, copy and it is yours. Happy Valentines Day my bloggie friend. ♥

leilani said...

the more awarness, the more light, the more light , the less chance of this awful thing continuing !!

Dana and Daisy said...

I agree with Amanda it is just heartbreaking.

Saddle Mountain Rider said...

This woman is such an inspiration. I pray for her strength to continue this good work.

LittlePeopleWealth said...

How sad :(

Jo said...

The world world needs to read this blog post. There are many countries who have no idea that women are actually people.

Jo said...

Why do you have comment moderation? Have you had a problem?

DesertHen said...

Thank you for this post! Bringing awarness to these issues is so very, very important. I was not able to get the link to work.

I'm very behind on blog reading and I see you haven't posted for a while. I do hope all is okay and you are well?

Take care and (((HUGS))) to you.....=)

Cynthia said...

I'm just checking in to see if you're still around? I hope everything is going okay for you. Haven't 'heard' from you in awhile.

♥georgie♥ said...

just stoppin by to check on you...been missin your posts

Mother Goose said...

Horrible! so much suffering going on in the world. What a great daughter you have there. It really makes my trials more of a blessing instead of a trial. Thank you for sharing this and bringing this issue forward.