What drives me is my passion for the empowerment of African women, and the need to see that every African woman in Australia is treated as a person who is part of the Australian system. I would like to quote Madeleine Albright: ‘There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.’ This emphasises my belief in the importance of assisting and encouraging women to learn to help themselves.
The common thread of humanity binds us all and what we do individually affects the whole world. Dignity is one of our most important human qualities and it is very important to honour it in all our relationships and international engagements.
Many women affected by female genital mutilation (FGM) do not know that the health problems they experience is due to the traditional genital cutting they had done to them in earlier years. Through education and information they learn how the normal body works. The knowledge they receive about the different types of FGM and what has been cut and stitched, enables them to understand the harmful health effects they experience due the procedure they had. Once they are fully aware of this, they very rarely want it to continue to be done to their daughters or other girls in their families. I believe that information and education empower people to make informed decisions and choices based on that information. Women and men who have attended our program realise they must that change must come and FGM must stop. They become the vehicles of change and take a role to empower others as they spread the information and knowledge they have gained.
I witnessed firsthand sexual violence and brutal exploitation of women and girls in armed conflicts. We must break the silence surrounding this issue so women can be seen, heard and be counted. It is our universal responsibility to give women a voice and space so they can develop their own strategies to end this violence.