Find out more about her activism and make a presentation:
Waris Dirie are a somalin fashion model, author and women’s rights activist known for her work to eliminate female circumcision. She was born in 1965 and was one of 12 children in a large nomadic family living near Somalia’s border to Ethiopia. She spent her childhood by helping her family obtaining enough food and water to survive and was five years old when she suffered the procedure of female genital mutilation. When she was 13 years old, she ran away because of an arranged marriage with a man old enough to be her grandfather. She eventually came to London, worked there at a fast-food restaurant and as a maid while she eventually learned to write and speak English.
She was at the age of 18 discovered as a model and became a well-known model for several magazines, a James Bond movie and appeared on some of the most known runways. She openly spoke about her FGM during a magazine interview where she was able to put a public eye on the topic. After the interview she was appointed to the UN population Fund’s as a special ambassador for the elimination of FGM which made her continue to speak loud about it around the world to work towards her goal of preventing women in the future to suffer as she did. When she had the procedure of FGM it was under primitive and unsanitary conditions where she did not get anaesthesia, were in a lot of pain and had to suffer both short and long-term complications. The movie Desert flower is made by her autobiography which she published in 1998, this was the book “The extraordinary journey of a Desert Nomad” and the movie were made in 2009.
In the 2000s she decided to focus on her activism and in 2001 she founded the Desert dawn Foundation to raise funds for Somalian clinics and schools, but also to use her voice to advocate for the abolition of FGM. She continued writing books and has published several books about herself, FGM and Somalia, such as “Desert Dawn” and “Desert Children”. She has received numerous awards for her activism and in 2009 she cofounded a foundation for Women’s dignity and rights.