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Will You Help Save a Girl From Mutilation? – by Jamie Glazov

Posted By Jamie Glazov On September 28, 2009 @ 9:34 pm In FrontPage | 17 Comments

Frontpage Interview’s guest is Ines Laufer, founder of the Task Force for Effective Prevention of Female Genital Mutilation, a network of Human-Rights-organisations and activists that is committed to measurable, broad prevention of genital mutilation (FGM) among migrant girls in the EU.  She now leads a new campaign, sponsoredgirl.com, to protect girls from this barbarity.

FP: Ines Laufer, welcome back to Frontpage Interview.

In our last discussion, we focused on how Germany has exposed a young girl to female genital mutilation and how Germany, and Europe in general, is not protecting young girls from this barbaric crime.

Today I would like to talk to you about a new campaign you have started. Tell us about it.

Laufer: Thanks Jamie.

Our research brought to light that to up to 400,000 sponsored girls who are marketed by the big development organizations PLAN International, World Vision, Kindernothilfe and ChildFund do not receive protection from female genital mutilation. We have started a new campaign, at sponsoredgirl.com, to protect the girls from female genital mutilation. We invite your readers to come join us.

These children are marketed in order to acquire money from trustful donors. The donors pay about 30 Euros per month – which means 360 Euros per year, in the belief that the organizations do all they can for providing a better life — including health for the sponsored children. PLAN International for instance, acquires about 72 million Euros every year, just by marketing the 240,000 concerned girls.

But asked about female genital mutilation on the sponsored girls, these organizations openly and publicly claim that demanding the safe protection of the girls would be against their approaches and against their policy.

So, by failing to demand, to stipulate and to control the protection of the sponsored girls from FGM, the organizations must be considered complicit in every single crime perpetrated against a little girl in this regard.

We are The Alliance for Protection of Girls from Female Genital Mutilation. We consider this simply scandalous and unacceptable. It is a crime against the girls and also a system of defrauding the donors.

That’s why we launched this campaign. It is suited to go the largest step forward in the direction of an end of FGM since the beginning of the fight against these practices. It could lead to true and immediate protection of a few million girls.

FP: Ok, what concretely does the campaign demand?

Laufer: It demands that all organizations who work with the sponsored-child-system, should make sure that all girls in their projects – in the relevant regions – are safely protected from violence like female genital mutilation.

This demand is based on the cognition that it is not only possible but very easy to achieve that goal – and even more: It does not cost any money.

It is just about the change of the attitude, approach and policy of the organisations. We call for:

[1] The stipulation of the safety and protection from FGM of the sponsored girls in the preconditions for support for the communities – and regular check ups.

[2] A careful selection of the project partners, which means that only those communities that support children’s rights will be targets of help. This means an investment of donations in the most economic and effective way.

[3] The complete solution – the two steps to safe protection – you find here.

FP: How do the mentioned organizations react to your activism on behalf of the victims of FGM?

Laufer: To be honest, Jamie, they all react quite similar so far, with a mixture of ostrich behavior (putting their heads into the sand) and helpless efforts to defend their current policy of tolerating and accepting the mutilations of thousands of sponsored girls.

But in fact, they deliver us one proof after the other that confirms how much this campaign is needed – how important it is and that it will have a deep impact to truly stop FGM.

To the people who sign and send the petition letters, they send standard-answers which make clear that they did not even read or understand what we demand. They still refuse to admit that they are fully responsible for every single mutilated girl in their projects because of their failure to implement the adequate protection measures. And they do not have any scruple to simply tell tales.

We can sum it up as following: There is much ignorance and denial and no adequate seriousness or goodwill to even understand what should be changed and how.

But I am sure this will change soon.

Only, it doesn’t lie in our hands anymore. Now, the world public – every person who feels concerned and disturbed by the knowledge that every day, thousands of little girls are mutilated by FGM – is asked to help the campaign.

FP: What exactly can people do to help the campaign? Is it about money and donations?

Laufer: No, Jamie – it is absolutely not about money or donations. It is about something much more important: It’s about the power of everyone’s voice. By investing exactly two minutes of time and a few clicks, everyone can help – while comfortably sitting in front of the computer. Every reader can help free this world from the nightmare of female genital mutilation. It has never been so easy.

At the www.sponsoredgirl.com website, you find four prepared letters, addressed to PLAN International World Vision, Kindernothilfe and ChildFund, see here.

Every person who signs and sends the letters – and who even steps back from current sponsorship-contracts, enlarges the pressure on the organizations. And this helps us to strengthen our efforts in demanding them to consequently protect the children.

That’s why: Please sign the letters and send them to your friends that they can do it too.

FP: So how has the campaign been going?

Laufer: Well, let me tell you this. In the last ten days, more than 750 letters have been sent to the organizations already. But we would like to achieve at least 5,000 to put the campaign at the next level of public pressure.

FP: Ines Laufer, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview. I encourage all of our readers who want to help stop this genocide against girls to go to www.sponsoredgirl.com.


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