Stitched together - FGM repair surgery in Kenya

By Ali George

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A little bit of context

Gloria Steinem says the greatest indicator of the world's stability, wealth and safety is the status of women. Violence against females is the most reliable predictor of whether a nation will be violent within itself or will use violence against another country. In May, my friend Miranda is joining a medical team in Kenya delivering FGM repair surgery for 80 incredible women. The medical teams are volunteers, supported by Clitoraid (not-for-profit NGO) and Garana (plastic surgeon fund).

The surgical outcomes include restoration of sexual function, correction of physical damage, reduction of pain related to passing urine, mensruation and sex, reduction of infection, and reduction of maternal and child morbidity due to obstructed labor and fistula occurrences caused by FGM complications.

Many of the women will return to their villages while others may start a new life. Some will become champions for anti-FGM missions for protection, empowerment and education about FGM as well as for success stories on clitoral reversal surgery.

But there’s a problem

The operating theatre costs $400 AUD per surgery of which $275 AUD is covered by various organisations supporting the work of Clitoraid. The surgery is at no cost to the patient, as is any post-operatiive medical care. But there's a gap of $125 AUD per operation for the operating theatre fees and no funding for pre and post operative care which is $50 (AUD) for food and lodging. Many of the women are not able to offord the shortfall of $175 (AUD), which can often take months or more to save. Without time to properly heal, there are inherent risks for each woman who is unable to afford post-operative care.

Here’s what we’re doing about it

We want to help. Many of us are privileged to have been raised believing our gender is no barrier to the choices we make. Let's support these incredibly brave women - our sisters, mothers and daughters, with the funding shortfall for FGM repair surgery and post-operative food/accommodation costs.

You can join us

Miranda, Sue and I want to raise $10,000 (AUD) to cover the shortfall in operating theatre and post-operative care costs for all 80 of the women. Miranda is already funding her trip costs and left for Kenya on 5 May. We've transferred more than $2,200 USD of your donations to Clitoraid so that surgeries can go ahead immediately. All money raised will be provided to Clitoraid as the organisation partnering with Dr. Marci Bowers to provide the surgeries in May.

And here’s some amazing perks for supporting us

Every donation will be acknowledged unless anonymity is requested. Donors of $25 AUD or more will be eligible to receive a piece of textile art made by Ali George. There are special edition postcards made from the original of the Shot Quilt series, as well as hand made textile art postcards, tags and art quilts. A range of thread bowls and nests also made by Ali will be available to donors. Ali is also offering for sale her favourite art quilt, Journey @ 30,000 feet. Remember that every $50 AUD provides a day of post operative rest and recovery for one patient. A gift of $125 AUD covers the operating theatre cost shortfall for one woman.

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Team Members

Ali George

Miranda Hann

Sue George