As an eight-year-old girl, Ifrah Ahmed endured female genital mutilation in her native Somalia. Now a new film shows how she is fighting to end the practice. “I don’t want to be a victim,” the 32-year-old activist tells The Guardian. “I want to be a voice.”
Ahmed is one of the first women to speak out publicly about female genital mutilation in Somalia, where an estimated that 98 percent of women have undergone the brutal ritual, according to The Guardian. The film about her personal journey, A Girl from Mogadishu, will have its North American premiere on July 21 at Women in the World’s inaugural 51Fest in New York.
Ahmed is determined to break the silence surrounding FGM in Somalia, where she runs a foundation lobbying the government to make the practice illegal, as well as community programs to help educate families about the dangers of the deeply rooted tradition. “When only women are in the room, they all agree FGM is a problem,” she says. “But if there is even one man there, they won’t speak out.”
Ahmed hopes the movie raises awareness globally. “I want this movie to travel the world,” she says. “I want to reach the decision makers, the leaders, and the young people who are the future. What happened to me cannot be changed. My past is my past. But what I can do is change the future.”