Waris Dirie

by Andrew from Ellicott City


Waris Dirie was born as an ordinary girl in Somalia. But her life was full of agony and hardship when her father made her to marry a 60 year old man. To avoid the marriage, she ran away from her family and walked across the red-sand desert with her bare feet. After she crossed the desert, she went to her mother’s family and convinced her uncle, the Somalian ambassador to London, to take her back to London with him as a cook and maid (Morrow). In London, after she left her uncle, she worked at McDonald’s, where she met an important person who helped her to get a job as a model.

Today, Dirie works to protect women’s right, especially, stopping the practice of FGM: female genital mutation. In many African countries, FGM, which does not give any benefit to women, is popularly practiced because men believe that FGM helps to keep women “clean”: not having sex before marriage and reducing a woman’s libido.

Dirie is a victim of the FGM, and her sister and two cousins died because of FGM (Oyaro). Therefore she understands women’s struggle, and puts her efforts to help about 140 million women whose health is in danger as a result of FGM (Giovanni). She succeeded as a model so she could be living a comfortable life, but she decided to live her life to help women instead. In 2002, she made a Waris Dirie Foundation that collects money to stop FGM. Also, the movie, “Desert Flower,” which is the story about Waris Dirie, has seen by many people all over the world. It raised the awareness of people to stop practicing FGM.

A flower, Waris Dirie, from the desert inspired me, because she gave me the message that do not lose hope, and work then I can achieve my goal. She lived though life, even more than my life. She convinces me that although something is hard it can be overcome. Like what she did that not giving up, and encouraging other people, I will be challenged to be a better person that helps other people.

Page created on 5/5/2010 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 5/5/2010 12:00:00 AM

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