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One woman puts up brave fight against FGM in Britain today

Having ‘broken the chain’ with her own children, Hibo is both a survivor and hero

Nabila Pathan

Published: Updated:

Set for national release next month, the memoir - "Cut: One Woman's Fight Against FGM in Britain Today" tells the remarkable story of Hibo Wardere working tirelessly to bring an end to the practice of Female Genital Mutation (FGM) in the UK.

Having ‘broken the chain’ with her own children, Hibo is both a survivor and hero. Having sacrificed her relationship with her mother for many years, Hibo was able to save her own daughters from a lifetime of psychological and physical pain.

Whilst Hibo's activism began a few years ago, she's widely gained recognition as a prominent anti-FGM campaigner, with her work featured on both national television and radio shows.

Her memoir, published by Simon & Schuster, looks set to catapult the mother of seven children and the cause she champions to wider attention.

Born in Somalia, Hibo came to England in the 80s, after leaving a war-stricken Somalia. Not knowing a word of English, she made her local library her "best friend" and committed to a journey of teaching herself English believing that "knowledge is freedom"

Speaking to Al Arabiya English, she recalls when her fight against FGM began:

"From the day it happened when I was six years old, I never accepted it. All I could ask was why? Why did I have to go through so much pain for the sake of men.

"Today my girls are free and I'm am very proud of that. I wanted to provide them a pain free future even before they were born."

Over a year ago, Hibo Wardere attracted the attention of famous British ghostwriter Anna Wharton, who became intrigued by Hibo's story through her tweets. What followed was an intense six month personal journey of "exploring emotions and details, that I had buried deep." explains Hibo.

"But I'm so proud of it. It's a book of hope for anyone who has undergone any kind of abuse. If you're going through the darkest time in your life, it serves as a reminder that you are not alone. Hopefully it will encourage other girls to come forward and seek help."

In the UK, the practice of FGM is illegal. But estimates, according to the National Health Service is "137,000 women in the UK are affected by female genital mutilation (FGM)." It is practiced in thirty countries across all continents.

Since Hibo started working as an FGM mediator for a district in East London, she has already witnessed more women coming forward and being open about their experiences. Whilst she sees this as positive step, she still believes a lot more work remains:

"It is also important that the work focuses on men because women are suffering in their name.. it’s about time they man up and say no. Everyone deserve to be equipped with the basic human right to say no to something that can hurt them."

Cut: One Woman’s Fight Against FGM In Britain Today, will be released on April 7.