Last week, Mohabe Mwita Marwa Simangwe, a cutter from Matare village dropped her tools at the HGWT safe house and swore not to cut any more girls in the Serengeti district.
This adds to the already long list of cutters that have been impacted by Rhobi Samwelly’s mission. In 2015, Christina, a circumciser who had previously cut girls in the local village of Kebanchabancha, witnessed an anti FGM road show Rhobi organised in her village. Christina was so deeply affected and moved by the road show it led her to publicly denounce FGM and destroy her tools for good. This cost her dearly – she lost her source of income, her husband divorced her and she had to move away from the village due to the pressure of people trying to persuade her to change her mind. Nonetheless, the strong support network she found in the HGWT safe house left her undeterred. Since then, Christina has become a peer educator persuading other circumcisers to follow her lead.
The tide is turning and HGWT has been a pioneer at the community level. Rhobi Samwelly and her team understand the complexity of FGM and it’s deep connection with the local cow based economy. They have held those who refuse to follow the anti-FGM laws accountable whilst also creating sustainable solutions to wipe out FGM.
However, the safe house faces challenges. Now it is known as a place of refuge, local police often bring people here who have nowhere else to go, like victims of rape and domestic abuse. Most pressing of all issues, is the need for a car so that girls in villages can be reached.
If you are willing and able to help, any donation would be much appreciated on http://mydonate.bt.com/events/nofgmtanz/451816. The funds will directly help girls escape FGM this cutting season.