Somali-born supermodel Waris Dirie has opened a centre in Germany to treat victims of female genital mutilation. The centre has been named The Desert Flower.
The Desert Flower Center is the first facility in Europe to offer a comprehensive treatment package to victims of female genital mutilation. While they welcome the project, some activists believe the problem is more effectively adressed at its roots.
The leafy suburb of Zehlendorf in southwest Berlin is a far cry from the dusty villages of Somalia. But the opening this week of the Desert Flower Center marks an invisible bridge between Germany and the dozens of African countries that practice female genital mutilation (FGM).
Our offer should help to regain lost quality of life.
- Treatment of complaints and pain according to FGM
- Reduction of birth risks for mother and child according to FGM
- surgical reconstruction of the female genitals
- psychological, social and intercultural advice
- Self-help group for women
- no treatment costs for affected women
Germany has had a study done to determine that there are almost 15,000 women that may be at risk of mutilation, we wrote about it here>>.
Housed in the Waldfriede Hospital, it is the first medical facility in Europe to offer victims an integral treatment package, ranging from surgery to psychological support.
“The plan is to open Desert Flower Centres all over Africa and worldwide,” she told SPIEGEL ONLINE. “All victims of FGM who wish to receive psychological and physical treatment deserve free access to surgery and psychological counselling. (This) is an important step toward a self-determined and free life.”
The model described FGM as a brutal crime and was happy that Germany had made an effort to curb this practice by making it a criminal offence in its own right, punishable with a jail term of up to 15 years. Previously, it fell under the grievous bodily harm category, with sentencing restricted to a maximum of ten years.