Born in Somalia, was circumcised when she was 3 years old and ran away from home when she was 13 years old. I’m talking about Waris Dirie.
So who is Waris Dirie? She is the African beauty who made a difference! Apart from that? Okay here’s a summary of her story!
She was born in Somalia to a community of Nomads. She ran away from home when she was 13 because she was to be married off the next day to an old man and that would make her his 4th wife. She ran away to Mogadishu, the capital city of Somalia. The journey to Mogadishu was a tough one as she walked barefoot and almost got raped.
She stayed with her grandmother before she was shipped off to London to be a maid. After working as a maid for 6 years she then worked at White Castle where she cleaned the floors. At the time she was working here, she was discovered by photographer Terrance Donovan. From there her modelling career kicked off. She appeared in magazines such as Glamour, Elle and Vogue.
Waiting for the part where she made a difference? Hold your horses!
The press was interested in her story terming her story as ‘From Nomad to model’. One day during an interview, she was asked to tell of the day that changed her life; here the journalist wanted to know how she was discovered. Instead Waris told her a different story.
“One night when I was 3 years old, I was given an extra plate of rice, I didn’t know why. The next day my mother took me away from the house where another old woman was waiting for me. The lady made me sit down. She then removed a razor blade and opened my legs apart. I struggled but it was to no avail as my mother also helped keeping my legs apart. I felt the most excruciating pain. She then used a thorn to sew me up leaving a hole as small as a matchstick head. My womb got infected but I was lucky to be alive. I later went back to the same spot to look for my remains but the birds had eaten them. My mother said I was a woman now, I hated being a woman”
“One was to remain like that until the wedding night where your husband would cut you open with a knife or sharp object and force himself inside.”
She raised concern on the issue of FGM all over the world. She made a difference. And because of her many young girls have escaped “being a woman”.
In 1997, Waris abandoned her modeling career to focus on her work against female circumcision. That same year, she was appointed UN Special Ambassador for the Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation. In 2002, she founded the Desert Flower Foundation in Vienna, Austria, an organization aimed at raising awareness regarding the dangers surrounding FGM.
In 1998, Waris authored her first book, Desert Flower, an autobiography which went on to become an international bestseller.
This is only but a summary of her story. To know the full story, You can watch her movie Desert Flower.
Waris and Liya who played her in The Desert Flower
Share with friends.