As a survivor myself, I know the effects of FGM firsthand, and I wanted to do something to help end it. So, in 1999, I set up The Galkayo Center
, which aims to end FGM and other forms of violence against girls. We work at various levels, but our main focus is on education. We provide free schooling to more than 800 poor, orphaned, and displaced girls in primary school, and to around 1,600 girls over the age of 13 who are in “non-formal” education. Nationally, only 24.6% of girls in Somalia attend school, but as a result of our work, girls’ enrollment in northeast Somalia has increased to 40%, the highest rate in the country. We teach each of these girls about the harms of FGM and how it can be ended. We try to persuade these girls that their destinies are their own to make – they can help break the cycle of abuse in their own lives and in their families.