Molloy offers a moving account of one woman’s struggle to empower African women and challenge tradition. Molly Melching, founder of the NGO Tostan in Senegal, went from a quiet life in small-town Illinois to running an educational organization that has had remarkable success in ending the practice of female genital cutting (FGC). This practice, known by most Senegalese women as “the tradition,” is intended to prepare a girl for marriage, and is performed by the women themselves. Most women consider the tradition to be a religious obligation required by the Koran, though the side effects include infections, childbirth difficulties, and even death. Melching, having lived in Senegal since 1974 as an exchange student, founded Tostan to set up classes in villages throughout the country to educate women on health, literacy, and human rights. After initial hesitation, they schooled students about the many health issues involved in FGC. In one village, women resolved to no longer cut their daughters, declaring so publicly in 1997. Native women and men travelled around the country to speak about the practice and convinced other villages to publicly end it. There is now the possibility of ending the practice in Senegal within one generation. Reading like a novel, this book demonstrates the power of education and grassroots organizing. Kristine Dahl, ICM. (May)
Reviewed on: 01/14/2013 Release date: 04/01/2013 Genre: Nonfiction
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