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Safe House giving out supplies

How Mothers' Union is helping to tackle FGM and child marriage

As Mothers’ Union we are against FGM. On International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM we want to highlight the work we do to prevent FGM and with families to support children affected by it.

06 Feb 2023

On the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) 6th February, we wanted to highlight the important work happening in Tanzania, Diocese of Mara. Faith House, an organisation run by Mothers’ Union in Mara, has been working with young girls since February 2015. Their main aim is to protect young girls in the community and educate them about the effects of FGM, gender-based violence and child marriage. With this new knowledge and confidence, the girls then have the self-awareness to stand up for themselves.

Since the organisation started, 500 girls have been rescued from FGM providing temporary residence to girls who flee from their families or caregivers. In 2022, the centre received 12 girls.

One of the focuses of Safe House, is reconciliation. Safe House visits the girls family and works to reconcile the victims of FGM and/or early marriage with their parents and relatives. This only takes place once the District Social Welfare Officer has thoroughly researched both the family and the girl. If they feel the girl will not be safe back at home, they wait for some time to pass then go back to the home to discuss again. Only when an agreement is made are the girls taken back to their family. Reconciliation can be a challenge as some parents react aggressively, even disowning the child. If this happens, Safe House takes full responsibility of providing for the girl and her future.

‘We haven’t heard about a girl being cut after we take her home, because we always check on them and visit their schools,’ the director of Nyumba Salama (Safe House), Melina says.

When in the care of Safe House, the girls are enrolled in classes, which include Tailoring, Computer skills, Entrepreneurship, as well as attending primary and secondary school. Safe House also monitors girls who accomplish their training at the centre once they return home to make sure they continue to be safe and cared for. As soon as a girl turns 18 she is seen as a grown up and able to make her own decisions.

At the moment, Safe House have 32 girls in their care who need to be provided with books, uniforms, shoes and all they need for school. Safe House will continue to work on their important vision: to build the community which is free from traditional ties and bad beliefs.