A Christmas Miracle:
an awakening in Kisii, Kenya
While many were preparing to celebrate the birth of our Savior last December, our brothers and sisters at the Sacred Center for Widows and Orphans in Kisii, Kenya were also hoping for a birth of a different kind- an awakening within their community to the dangers of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). They hoped to create this awakening through an event that would bring together all involved in the practice, including those who do the cutting!
The proposed title of the event would be “Understanding the Unspoken” with the theme “TIGA!! FGM!” (STOP!! FGM!). A hopeful Robert Gutwa, the Executive Director of the Sacred Center for Orphans and Widows, reached out to Dignity4Girls for funding.
Dignity4Girls recognized the profound impact such an event could have, and that Christmas was a perfect time, but this was a last-minute request and all of our funds were assigned to other programs. With a heavy heart D4G had to decline funding the requested $900.00, while suggesting Robert make similar plans for a later date.
The vision of bringing together those who do the cutting with women who had been cut, birthing attendants who saw the dangerous and sometimes fatal complications from scaring, and the young girls who live in fear of being cut played over and over in the hearts and minds of the Digntiy4Girls leadership. Did we really have to say “no” to funding such an event? Yes, we did. We had no available funds.
Then, just 24 hours after sending the email declining funding, a member of a small community church reached out to Dignity4Girls to share that their church, Bethlehem Lutheran, was donating $700.00. It was a Dignity4Girls Christmas miracle- and it even came from Bethlehem (Church, that is)! And when Bethlehem church learned about the FGM program, a member personally contributed the final $200.00 needed.
Within days Robert had the funds in Kenya.
On December 18, 2018, the three-day program for 50 pre-selected participants began. Presentations were made followed by lengthy discussions. Much was learned. Why do the cutters do the cutting? They need the money. Who makes the decisions for the girls to be cut? Fathers make the final decisions in the home.
Local university staff were invited to participate in the event. Many were shocked to learn about the life-long dangers FGM, especially during childbirth. They promised to return to the university and write up what they learned in easy to understand articles- sharing their new knowledge about the dangers of what had previously been left “unspoken”.
Was there a birth or awakening in Kisii, Kenya this December? We believe so. Much was learned, providing hope for change. Could new jobs be found for the cutters and fathers convinced of the dangers of FGM? Join us in praying for Robert, the staff of the Sacred Center and all who were involved, as the harmful truths of the “unspoken” are now spoken in their communities.
May hope, grace and change abound for vulnerable women and girls in Kisii, Kenya this new year!