Jaha’s Promise is to end Female Genital Mutilation around the world. She’s been around the world and is getting some results.
We won’t spoil the end of her movie by the same title that was shown tonight at the United Nations in New York and is getting screenings around the world.
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Jaha Dukureh is also sharing her story with 7 Action News because Detroit has the world watching two doctors who have been charged with performing FMG on young girls.
She says their cases are a game-changer.
“People are now seeing this is not happening to people in the villages of Africa. This is happening in the United States. There are doctors in the United States who are cutting little girls,” she says.
And FGM is not limited to one region of the world, one religion nor one method.
“In Africa, both Christians and Muslims perform FGM,” Jaha said.
And for her, “It’s something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. It has impacted my physically, psychologically," she says. "It does something to your self- esteem as a woman”
Jaha’s non-profit is based where she lives in Atlanta. She tells 7 Investigator that stopping FGM is not a popular cause that gets a lot of donations.
“I’m not rich and managing a non-profit with multiple staff here in the US and Africa has been a huge challenge,” she says.
Jaha was born in the Gambia and had FGM performed on her when she was only one-week-old. She found out about it when she was 15.
She tells her story to school girls in her home country in the movie, “Every time you’re having sex with your husband, he’s enjoying it and you’re laying there in pain. And that’s not fair.”
She tells them it gets worse, “I have 3 kids. And each time I deliver my babies they have to literally cut me open because I’ve had FGM.”
The Centers for Disease Control says numbers in the Unites States are staggering, more than a half million women and girls are at risk of having FGM performed on them. And it is on the increase because of increased immigration from countries where FGM is practiced.
Jaha’s mission can create serious conflicts and can make her an outcast with her own people.
But she clarifies her promise, “I am a proud African. I wear that everywhere I go. I carry that identity with me wherever I go. So I’m not fighting against my culture or who I am. I’m not fighting against my religion. I’m fighting against this inhumane practice against young women. And I will always be against that.”