Photo Credit: Getty Images
Today on March 8th, both WBLS & WLIB are celebrating ‘International Women’s Day.’
We recognize 30-year old Jaha Dukureh, the first leader in the movement to end female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage globally.
Jaha is the founder and CEO of non-profit organization Safe Hands for Girls and contributed to both President Obama’s administration investigating FGM in the USA and the Gambian Government announcing a ban on FGM through youth mobilization and campaigning in Gambia.
Jaha’s documentary, “Jaha’s Promise,”(2017) documents her voicing her journey from being a survivor of FGM and child marriage to becoming a prominent advocate for the rights of females exposed to FGM.
Born in Gambia, Jaha endured clitoridectomy at just one week old. Her first arranged marriage transpired at age 15 to a much older man in New York. After two months, Dukureh escaped from her abusive husband but remained in New York to continue her education. She gained citizenship in 2015.
As a mother and a survivor of FGM and child marriage, Jaha believes that unity can help end these oppressors’ in this generation and dedicates her livelihood to seeing this change.
This vision led her to start Safe Hands for Girls; a survivor-led organization against the practice of female genital mutilation and other harmful practices against women and girls. Jaha works hard to create a platform for all women’s voices by walking with religious leaders in villages, along with survivors and world leaders.
Jaha’s earned numerous awards and recognition. To name a few, Dukureh was named to the Time 100 list of ‘the most influential people in the world’ in 2016 and one of the ‘100 most influential Africans’ of 2017, by New African magazine. She was also honored with the “Human rights activist, Humanitarian of the Year” at the African Diaspora Awards in 2017.
Her work has been featured in the New York Times, Guardian, New York Daily News, Cosmopolitan, and other media outlets. Last year, she was featured in the L’Oreal Paris Women of Worth campaign!
Jaha utilizes her experiences and others to focus on survivorship. Her emphases are on seeing beyond the “victim,” to help women not be defined by those experiences and rise above.
Thank You to Jaha Dukureh for utilizing her traumatic experiences with FGB & childhood marriage to become an activist for the abolishment of FGB and empower those who are either victims of or subjected to it.
To learn more about Jaha, check out the video below!