Jaha Dukureh’s Journey To American Dream Includes A Crusade
Jaha Dukureh, 25, a young woman from Gambia, took the oath of U.S. citizenship last Tuesday in Atlanta. Her American Dream includes a crusade for women upliftment in some parts of the world.
Dukureh was subjected to female genital mutilation in Gambia when she was a little more than a week old. She came to the United States at the age of 15 for an arranged marriage to a much older man. Only then did she come to understand what had happened to her. Because of the damage done to her body, Dukureh had to endure terrible pain and undergo surgery to be able to consummate that marriage. The marriage didn’t last.
According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), 504,000 girls in the United States are at risk of experiencing FGM, a cultural practice still enforced by many African immigrants.
About Jaha Dukureh
- A survivor of female genital mutilation (FGM).
- Founder of Safe Hands for Girls to empower and educate young women and communities about the dangers and effects of FGM.
- Started the first youth-led movement against FGM in The Gambia.
- She has directly saved more than 100 girls from this harmful practice and has been instrumental in the creation of the Girls’ Protection Act of 2010, which criminalizes the transport of U.S. girls abroad for FGM.
- Her 2014 Change.org petition collected more than 220,000 signatures, resulting in the Obama administration directing the CDC to investigate FGM’s prevalence in the United States.
- She intends to continue her work until FGM is completely eliminated – a goal she would like to reach within a decade.