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USA/GHANA: Lauderhill Event To Help Educate hana Women About Genital Mutilation

In remote villages in Ghana, Florence Ali sees firsthand the side effects of female genital mutilation.

Although banned by Ghana's laws, it's a cultural tradition still practiced in some villages, said Ali.

"We see the side effects particularly when women come in to deliver their babies,'' said Ali, president of the Ghanaian Association for Women's Welfare.

A World Health Organization study showed that women who have suffered the most serious form of genital mutilation have a higher chance of suffering from a post childbirth hemorrhage.

She said when some of the women return to their communities they isolate themselves because they're ashamed of their wounds.

Saturday night at a Ghanaian function in Lauderhill, Ali will speak about female circumcision, or genital mutilation, and her work to bring more awareness to this issue.

Ghanamma, a group of South Florida women, many with ties to Ghana, meets monthly to find ways to help women living in Ghana with health issues.

"We formed this as a sisterhood and out of friendships,'' said Adiiza Bucary, of Wellington, president of Ghanamaa.

Burcary, who has lived in South Florida since the mid-80s, said she grew up in the city and was spared the cultural tradition. But she said she knew of several cases, including her great grandmother.

"I never saw it, but I knew it was being practiced,'' said Bucary, a local dietitian.

Formed only three years ago, Ghanamaa members said they were able to raise a modest $1,500 last year to send to the Ghanaian Association of Women Welfare to assist with education.

At their function Saturday, they hope to raise more. She event is at 8:30 p.m. Saturday at the Inverrary Country Club in Lauderhill, where tickets go for $50 and include music and dance.

Ali, a retired nurse and midwife, said her association is looking to eventually purchase a sturdier vehicle to spread their message in areas that are hard to get to now because of the poorly built dirt roads.

Sometimes when they don't reach women with genital mutilation until they already are in child birth it's too late, she said.

"We have got to get to a grassroots levels to push this type of education,'' she said.

Georgia East can be reached at geast@sunsentinel.com or 954-572-2078.

SOURCE: Sun Sentinel

URL: Click here

DATE: 01/10/2009

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