Supermodel Opens Clinic For Victims Of Female Genital Mutilation


Somalian supermodel Waris Dirie has just opened up a clinic in Germany to help the victims of female genital mutilation, otherwise crudely known as “female circumcision”, get reconstructive surgery and the proper health care they need.

The author, who wrote an autobiography called ‘Desert Flower’ based on her life growing up in Somalia and then as a model in London, named the clinic ‘Desert Flower Medical Center’ which is located within a Berlin hospital.

Why is Waris Dirie so passionate about speaking up about FGM? Because she experienced it herself as a 4 year-old girl, which she talks about in her book. The act of female genital mutilation is a horrific procedure dictated by men in societies where women have no voice. In turn, the women in those communities have no education about why this is unnecessary and can be fatal to a young girl, because all they believe is the lies they are told: It keeps you “clean” and “pure” for the marriage bed.

Oh, and most of these girls are married at a very young age to men who are, in some cases, more than three times their age. This has to stop! Education and awareness is just the start.

According to a statistic, around 8000 girls are circumcised every day around Africa and the Middle East. There are many women from these regions who eventually make their way to western countries and seek refuge there, and this is where clinics like Berlin’s Desert Flower Medical Center will be able to help the victims of FGM reconstruct what this disgusting act tore apart.

The UN World Health Organization says about 150 million girls and women worldwide are living with the consequences of what is known as FGM.

The clinic aims to treat anywhere from 50 to 100 women a year, and eventually they plan to open more locations around Europe, Africa and Asia.48 year-old Dirie, whose autobiography was turned into a feature movie in 2009, told a German newspaper “Female genital mutilation has nothing to do with religion, culture or tradition. It is a crime against innocent girls that must be punished.”

Waris no longer models but instead devotes her effort to full time activism. But hey, the modeling certainly gave her the platform she needed to reach out to her country women and many others.

In 2012 she said in an interview “Education is important, because it enables us to teach people about the dangers and consequences of the practice. Working on projects to empower women is even more important, because that’s what enables them to take their own decisions and make different choices for their daughters.”

For her, fashion is an industry that gets a lot of attention that can be used for great causes, but Dirie doesn’t think it is quite there yet, but hopes it will change in the future. If there is no ulterior motive to improve humankind through the big platform of fashion, she describes it as “meaningless”.

“There is very little contribution to important issues we are facing in this world today coming from the fashion industry.There are some exceptions where people try to bring attention to issues such as human rights abuse, poverty or environmental protection, and I would really like to see this trend continue.”

Waris Dirie demonstrates a true warrior spirit who is no doubt inspiring and empowering thousands upon thousands of women in the world. Female genital mutilation, while it is an ancient and unprofitable practice, is still being done to this very day and she sees no reason to stop her activism until this mutilating of young girls comes to an end.

“I just cannot sit back and watch it being done to thousands of little girls every year. I believe that it is my responsibility to use the attention I get to fight against the continuing practice of FGM. I don’t know if you can call that spirituality, but I feel physically connected to every single girl on this planet that still has to suffer because of this cruel practice.”To see more of Waris Dirie’s amazing work and activism, visit The Desert Flower Foundation website.


  1. Pingback: Teen Girl Leading The Fight Against Female Genital Mutilation In The UK

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