In the Name of Tradition

تشرين الثاني 21 2012, تصنيف: Clitoraid NEWS
By Adam & Steve Goldie

In the name of tradition, some 140 million women alive today have been forced to endure having their genitalia mutilated (WHO Fact Sheet No. 241). To end this horrific practice the registered charity Clitoraid, which was founded by Rael, together with an international team of volunteer doctors and nurses, intends to surgically repair the clitorises of thousands of female genital mutilation (FGM) victims in a “Pleasure Hospital” it is building in West Africa.

In accordance with a barbaric tradition that is still prevalent within many African communities, young girls in many parts of the world are forced to undergo one or more of the excruciating procedures known as clitoridectomy (partial or total removal of the external clitoris), excision (partial or total removal of the external clitoris and the labia, "the lips" that surround the vagina), infibulation (the narrowing of the vaginal opening through the cutting and repositioning of the labia, with or without removal of the clitoris) and other harmful procedures to the female genitalia. These brutal and senseless acts, known collectively as female genital mutilation (FGM), may be carried out by traditional “circumcisers” but are frequently carried out by female relatives, themselves earlier victims of the practice, using crude instruments and without anaesthesia.

FGM is effective in denying future sexual pleasure to the pubescent girls subjected to it, but the “procedure” also causes severe bleeding and problems when urinating. Those that survive face a future of cysts, infections, infertility, complications in childbirth that increase the risk to both mother and baby, as well as relationship and psychological problems. Little could be done to help these women until 1979 when Dr. Pierre Foldès, a French urologist and surgeon, developed a revolutionary surgical procedure designed to help FGM victims achieve their first clitoral sensations and to repair the associated physical damage.

In 2004, spiritual teacher Rael proposed the creation of a non-profit organization dedicated to ending FGM by raising funds to cover the cost of the surgery for as many FGM victims as possible. Clitoraid International now has branches in over twenty countries around the world and has so far assisted thirty-four women to have the “repair” surgery.

Because both the procedure and the travel costs to America are expensive, Rael appreciated that it would be much better to use the money raised to build a surgical clinic where volunteer doctors and nurses would surgically repair the clitorises of thousands of mutilated victims in a “Pleasure Hospital”. The location of the first hospital is in West Africa, near the town of Bobo Dioulasso in Burkina Faso. It is a poor country with a population of almost sixteen million located immediately to the north of Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana and Togo. The two largest cities are Ouagadougou, which is the capital, and Bobo-Dioulasso.

The Pleasure Hospital

About 10-15 km south-southwest of Bobo-Dioulasso are the villages of Matourkou and Kuinna. In May 2008 the chiefs of these two villages granted Clitoraid’s local arm, DELTE AVFE (meaning: Association for Female Blossoming) freehold title to a 2000 m² (half acre) plot of land located between the two villages, in return Clitoraid is to provide local GP services from the clinic.

Clitoraid assembled an international team to design and supervise the construction of the hospital and, despite the difficulties of financing such an incredible project, the clinic’s main building was completed in 2011. Komkasso Hospital contains an operating theatre, a laboratory, an infirmary, a sterilization room, offices for the surgeons and head nurse, reception and waiting areas, two consultation rooms for doctors, a conference/training room, and laundry, kitchen and public washrooms.

2012 has seen the completion of the electrical meter room, main storehouse, the flammable goods store and an enclosure for the back-up generator, and the guard’s accommodation is also almost complete. The in-country team will then focus on completing the hospital surrounds, which includes the construction of the perimeter fencing, car park, driveways and landscaping.

At the same time the international project team have concentrated on locating suitable donors and suppliers for the required medical and non-medical equipment, stores and furniture, and on working out how best to transport it to Bobo Dioulasso. Some progress has been made on securing donated equipment, but at this stage the exact items to be donated and their quantity and quality are still uncertain. The alternative of purchasing the equipment and supplies is not an option until sufficient funds have been raised.

We need your help! This can be by joining Clitoraid as a volunteer fundraiser, or by making a donation, or both! Whichever way you choose you will be helping FGM victims to regain their lives and contributing to the end of FGM.