Phil Borges :: Women Empowered, Abay

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Abay, 29
Awash Fontale, Ethiopia

Abay was born into a culture in which girls are circumcised before age 12.When it came time for her circumcision ceremony, Abay said, “No.” Her mother insisted: An uncircumcised woman would be ostracized and could never marry, Abay was told.When her mother's demands became unbearable, she ran away to live with a sympathetic godfather. Eight years later, Abay returned to her village and began work as a station agent for CARE, supervising the opening of a primary school and a health clinic and the construction of a well. After five years, she finally convinced one of the women to let her film a circumcision ceremony. She showed the film to the male leaders. They had never seen a female circumcision and were horrified.Two weeks later, the male leaders called a special meeting and voted fifteen to two to end female circumcision in their village.

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