Waris as a little girl endured the extreme pain and horror of female circumcision, her mother held her down while her labia and clitoris were cut completely out without anesthesia, her vagina would then be stitched closed with thorns.
Her older sister bled to death and her 6-year-old cousin died of an infection from the same procedure.
At 13 her father sold her to a much older man to be one of his several wives. Her new husband planned to cut her vagina open with a knife or penetrate it until it broke.
Waris was so scared like any little girl at 13 would be and ran away. She ended up in the Somalia desert with no food or water and was surrounded by wild beasts such as lions.
She had eventually hitchhiked a ride where the driver tried to rape her, she grabbed a rock and threw it at him and jumped out of the back of the truck, and ran for her life. Her famous quote is,
“As long as I was alive, I knew I could make it.”
With the help of her aunt, she would immigrate to London in 1983, where she worked as a cleaner for two years and later worked in a fast-food restaurant where she was discovered by a famous photographer.
This connection led Waris to be on the cover of a calendar and by the 1990’s she was modeling for top designers such as Chanel.
Waris is now a strong activist and has used her success to establish the Waris Dirie Foundation which has assisted more than 40,000 victims of female circumcision since 2002.
This is a true testimony of the power one has to change the outcome of their life when they refuse to give into adversity.
SALUTE to Waris Dirie! -Wow!