The Cut Of Identity
Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a procedure where the female genitals are deliberately cut, injured or changed, but where there's no medical reason for this to be done. It's also known as "female circumcision" or "cutting". FGM is usually carried out on young girls between infancy and the age of 15, most commonly before puberty starts. It is illegal in many countries and considered child abuse.
In a remote village located in the outskirts of Narok town, You will find Tasaru Girls Centre. A safe haven for girls who have ran away from their homes to protest undergoing FGM and subsequently early marriages
Agnes is the founder of Tasaru Girls Centre. She is a women's rights activist who personally ran away from her home at a young age when it was her 'turn'.
Narok is predominantly occupied by the Maasai Community who generally hold dearly to their traditions, some of which have been retrogressive especially FGM and early marriages.
Tasaru Centre is the home to 14 year old Hellen. She ran away from her home at the age of 11. Her parents then considered her ready for marriage. A suitor had already approached the family with an offer to pay dowry if the family proceeded to take the little girl through FGM
In the traditional Maasai community, polygamy is eulogized. The number of wives, cattles and goats you have are all counted as wealth, and determines how much respect your neighbours owe you. Dowry is paid in form of animals and a suitor can be 70 years older.
Noonkuta is a reformed "cutter" hundreds of underage girls have been brought to her over the years, for the traditional cut that pronounces them ready for marriage. She says after hearing too much negativity about the practice, she chose to abandon the "career"
At home, she is looking after her cattle. Her choice to abandon the tradition has introduced to her new friends and equally new enemies from the community
Maria is a practicing "cutter" who is lamenting the dying of the practice. She blames the educated members of the community for "killing" their originality and traditions.
Girls from the center are in a boarding school approximately 30 km away. They come "home" during school holidays.
The school have other students who are not from the centre. The only unifying factor is that here, they all rely on scholarships.