FGM (female genital mutilation…also known as “female circumcision”) is an ongoing problem in the country of Sierra Leone, where close to 90% of women have been subjected to this painful and dangerous procedure. Heavily tied to political and financial gain, the practice is often conducted by force and in secret and has been difficult to irradicate in a country where powerful leaders fund “soweis,” women who lead underground FGM groups.
FGM is performed under unsanitary conditions and often results in serious infection and long-term health problems, including complications in pregnancy and childbirth. The Lulu Tree is devoted to protecting God’s precious daughters from the physical and emotional trauma of this harmful practice. Because of the complex role FGM plays in society, the solution needs to come from within as women rise up to take a stand against it and protect their daughters.
Female genital mutilation targets little girls, baby girls – fragile angels who are helpless, who cannot fight back. It’s a crime against a child, a crime against humanity. It’s abuse. It’s absolutely criminal and we have to stop it. -Waris Dirie
Rescuing One Girl at a Time
In an answer to prayer, the Lord has touched the heart of a former FGM leader, Mafaray Bangura, a mother who lives in Sierra Leone; when she came to Christ Mafaray left her lucrative career as a soweis. She has since offered to lead Lulu’s effort to end FGM, pledging to begin by protecting her own children and dedicating her life to protecting the daughters and future daughters of Sierra Leone. In the video below, she shares her story:
The Lulu Tree’s FGM Rescue Program started by sending 12 girls whose parents have agreed to refrain from allowing them to undergo FGM while in school. Not only does this ensure their protection from FGM, but it allows these girls to be taught about the dangers of FGM, how to protect themselves, and the importance of protecting their future daughters. By the time the girls are out of school, they will be old enough to make their own choices and to become strong leaders in their own right, influencing their communities and bringing hope to future generations.
Meanwhile, The Lulu Tree is equipping the mothers of these girls with knowledge about the female reproductive system, FGM, and parenting classes on how to disciple and nurture their daughters. They meet monthly in the village church alongside their daughters to learn and grow.
The mothers are also equipped in a skill set enabling them to pay for their daughters’ school fees, thus making the FGM Rescue Program sustainable.
Finally Mafaray, the leader of the program, will be visiting neighboring villages in coming months in order to expand the program to multiple churches.