WOMEN’S ACTION AGAINST FGM, JAPAN (WAAF)
2–4–12 Rokkodai, Matsudo, Chiba 270–2203, Japan
THANK YOU to Mitsue Ohi, Nina Raj and the members of WAAF for their welcome recognition of Khady’s humanitarian initiative.
Although Japan may seem distant to both Africa and Europe, we’ve had each other’s backs for more than a decade. An early member of WAAF, Sachiko Mitsumori joined FORWARD in Germany where she was active for several years before returning to Hiroshima. She met Khady, president of the EuroNet FGM, when our 2012 annual meeting took place in Frankfurt and then introduced me to her group in Tokyo. In fact, at the Inter-African Committee triennial conference in Dakar, Senegal, in 1997, I had first been made aware of a Japanese delegation, but it would be another fifteen years before our friendship bloomed. In the meantime, professional links have evolved. For instance, Sachiko Mitsumori, who has published the first book on Alice Walker in Japanese, contributed a chapter to my book Waging Empathy on Walker’s Possessing the Secret of Joy (1992). Walker’s translator into Japanese, Yumiko Yanagizawa is also a member of WAAF and provided an interview for my preface. Khady, meanwhile, was translated into Japanese — and 17 more languages.
Founded in 2006 by Khady Koita and Els Leye, La Palabre, the awardee, aims to defend the human rights of vulnerable populations, especially children and women, with emphasis on education and training. It opposes inequality, racism, and violence including FGM.
Among its first moves on the route to equality, it founded a school in 2007 and, to assure street children a better future, it welcomed them to the Mame Diarra Diallo centre, launched in 2008. Mame Diallo Centre also shelters women and girls who have suffered violence, thereby joining a growing number of safe houses for those courageous souls who flee excision. Its residents benefit not only from refuge but also psychological and legal counseling as well as professional training. In 2016, AIME, L’Association International de Mobilisation pour l’Égalité enhanced its support. Visit <aime-ong.org>
Keep up the good work, Khady! You’re an inspiration to us all.