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HomeLocal NewsAmazonia Movement Demolishes FGM Centers & Builds Schools

Amazonia Movement Demolishes FGM Centers & Builds Schools

By Shadrach Aziz Kamara

The Executive Director of the of the Amazonia Initiative Movement (AIM), Madam Rugiatu  Neneh Turay has informed this medium that, within one year period, her organization through the support and cooperation of community people has demolished two FGM training centres in Mathaska and Matimba villages in the Tonkolili and Port Loko districts and built schools.

Speaking to this medium, Madam Turay said, “The reason our organization has taken this bold step to demolish FGM shrines and replaced them with schools is the fact that, people deliberately decide to build these shrines in the middle of the villages, and that community people take advantage of initiating underage girls using their traditional means to lure them into the shrines even without their consent,”. She went on to say that if these shrines are not removed from the villages, these girls will not be tempted to enter into these shrines.

She explained that before the demolition of the FGM shrine at Matimba village in the Port Loko district, the village and its environs were without primary school. Over seventy five years, she said that residents of Matimba and Mathaska villages have been deprived of formal education.

“My aim is to make sure that girls stay in schools,” she said, adding that if these shrines continue to exist in the middle of these villages parents will continue to remove their daughters from schools and get them into FGM training shrines. When the shrines are removed totally from the villages and schools are built, she said that girls will continue to stay at school.

Madam Turay noted that at Mathaska village in the Tonkolili District, the village has been in existence without a formal school for over 80 years, adding that it is against this backdrop that the villagers decided to give up their FGM training Shrine for the construction of the first ever concrete block school building.

She said at first when she approached her people with the proposal of constructing a school where the FGM shrine was, adding that people were afraid to hand over the shrine for fear of evil spirit reaction.

“I knew that, it was their fear, but I assured them that nothing will happen, and indeed, we hired youth who demolished the shrine and brushed the entire bush, and today, the 6 classroom building has been constructed,” she said. She continued to say that hundreds of children within and outside the village are now attending the school.

According to the Section Chief of Matimba Village, in Port Loko District Pa Alimamy Kekura, thanked Madam Turay for the good work.He informed that, for the past 75 years they have been in complete darkness by allowing a shrine to be built right in the middle of their villages. He assures that he will not allow anybody including sowies (cutters) to construct a shrine in his village. He warned that whosoever is caught initiating girls in his village will face the full force of the law.

Ya Sampa Bongo, a sowie in Mathaska village said that the construction of the school has opened their eyes to development.

Some of the parents interviewed in Mathaska and Matimba villages appreciated the work of Neneh Turay for constructing schools in their villages and promised not to send their daughters for FGM initiations but rather sponsor their education.

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