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Kenyan teen smiling, dressed in traditional red
July 2023

Teen fights FGM

Many girls face FGM, child marriage and abuse – help fight for their rights

Help fight for their rights

Right now, girls all over the world are being forced into violent realities like FGM, child marriage, child labour and abuse.

World Vision intentionally focuses on women and girls in every aspect of our work, because we know that when women and girls are empowered, everyone wins.

Through education, economic empowerment, child protection, water provision and more, we’re helping women and girls live life to the full.

Women and girls are making a difference in their communities, thanks to World Vision’s support. Girls like Leah, who is 14, from Kenya.

Leah’s Maasai culture views Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and child marriage as hallmarks of adulthood.

Kenyan children sitting under a tree
Leah (centre) is fighting against FGM after attending World Vision event

“I used to think FGM is good”

Leah explains: "I used to think that FGM is something good because it is considered a major achievement for girls or women in our culture.”

But her views changed after taking part in a World Vision project.

She became inspired to protect the rights of children, especially girls in her village, after being in the mentorship programme known as the Alternative Rights of Passage (ARP), organised by World Vision in partnership with regional government.

Now she is fighting against FGM in her community. She says, “The ARP mentorship programme opened my eyes and now I am against it and would not like any girl in my community to go through it."

FGM and child marriage rob girls of their childhood. Thanks to ARP, Leah learnt about the adverse impacts of FGM, which include severe bleeding, childbirth complications, increased risk of newborn deaths, spread of infections like HIV and injury to the female genital organs.

Along with learning about the effects on a girl’s health, Leah was heartbroken by the testimonies of women and girls who were forced into FGM and marriage at a young age.

"Most of them dropped out of school before finishing their primary education. They suffered complicated childbirths that almost killed them. And, due to the lack of education, they are unable to get jobs or other opportunities that can give them money to take care of their children and families," she adds.

Kenyan children holding hands
Leah is raising awareness among young people in her community

Through her advocacy work as a child protection champion, Leah is keen on ensuring that girls in her community are spared from the suffering and bleak future that FGM causes.

While at school, she raises awareness among fellow pupils - both boys and girls - on the effects of FGM through the Child Rights Club, which sheds light on harmful cultural practices.

“Children have the power to fight for their rights”

In the evenings and during school holidays, Leah creates time to gather children in her neighbourhood at a central location - be it at her home or in church - to empower them to stand up for their rights and reject FGM and child marriage.

Children in Kenya raising hands
Leah shares the dangers of FGM to other children and young people

"Sometimes children feel like they are helpless, yet they also have the power to fight for their rights. I always make them know that if they are facing threats like FGM and other types of child abuse, they can report the matter to the [area] chief or our teachers. This has been of help to many children," she says.

Leah urges her peers to embrace education and values which will empower them to become responsible adults and have a bright future.

"When you are educated, you are empowered. You can get a good job or start businesses that will help you to live in a good house, take your children to good schools and be able to buy clothes and have enough food at home. To be a good adult you also need to be honest, hardworking, caring, confident and ready to help other people, as God teaches us in the Bible. These are some of the values that will make you succeed in life, as a child or adult," adds Leah.

She is among the thousands of children and young people empowered to meaningfully take action aimed at ending violence against children, after taking part in World Vision projects.

Help fight for their rights

Right now, girls all over the world are being forced into violent realities like FGM, child marriage, child labour and abuse. But sponsorship is helping to change that, because for every child who is sponsored, four more children in their community benefit.

You can fight for the rights of girls like Leah.

Sponsor a girl today.


Learn more