Desert flower: Raising awareness of Female Genital Mutilation
In 2010, the Kering Foundation promoted the release in France of the film Desert Flower to raise awareness on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
Desert Flower, a movie directed by Sherry Hormann, tells the incredible destiny of Waris Dirie, member of the Foundation Board of Directors. Raised in the Somali desert, she fled to escape a pre-arranged marriage at 13 and became a housemaid in London, to finally be celebrated as a famous international top model. After that, she dedicated her life to combatting FGM.
On the occasion of the movie release in France in March 2010, the Groups brands encouraged by the Kering Foundation got mobilized around two initiatives:
- A wide-ranging awareness campaign against FGM reached not only the employees but also the customers and the public at large, with in-store events and debates organized jointly with Fnac. Many people were informed through e-newsletters, discovered the film during private screening or won copies of Desert Flower book and DVD.
- About 400 prestigious guests from the fashion, entertainment field and the charity sector were brought together in presence of Waris Dirie during a Premiere organised by Kering Luxury Brands. A fund-raising raised over 55,000 euros in proceeds donated to the NGO Équilibres & Populations, supported by the Kering Foundation (pilot project to encourage the ending of Female Genital Mutilation in Mali).
Raising awareness of female genital mutilation
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Member of the Foundation's Board of Directors, Waris Dirie talks about her commitment.
When did you decide to dedicate your life to the fight against the Feminine Genital Mutilation?
A little time after I was mutilated, I remember having the very clear view that what one did to me was absolutely not normal. I knew then, that one day I shall fight against this practice. I did not know when, where, nor how. I knew that I must do it, me, a girl from Somalian deserts.
Do you have the feeling that the situation has improved concerning FGM?
Things have evolved: people speak now openly about a subject which was formerly taboo. Nevertheless, we receive information on behalf of doctors and of women worldwide which confirm that the FGM are not only practised in Africa, but also in South America, Kurdistan (Turkey, Iran, Iraq), Europe, Australia, North America, and that they are not only practised by Muslims, but also by Christians.
Why did you get involved in the Kering Foundation?
Because the Kering Foundation makes what few people make, that is to take care of the women on this earth. And if the Foundation can contribute to improve their life, it is fantastic. That is why I support and that I am member of its Board of directors: because I believe in it. What the Foundation’s teams do is just.
2 February 2015, Waris Dirie was awarded in the House of Lords in London, with the prestigious “Liberal International Prize for Freedom 2015“ for her outstanding combat to eradicate Female gender Mutilation and for the work of her “Desert Flower Foundation”. Click here to learn more