Logo SAVE - Sisters against violent extremism

24. Oktober 2006

Gruppenfoto Korn © BMFG

f.l.t.r.: Elisabeth Kasbauer, Edit Schlaffer, minister Maria Rauch-Kallat, Fadumo Korn, Alfons Haider, Gertrude Aubauer (not in the picture: Sandra Pires)

Alfons Haider und Fadumo Korn © Edit Schlaffer WwB

Alfons Haider and Fadumo Korn

Elisabeth Kasbauer und Fadumo Korn © Edit Schlaffer / WwB

Elisabeth Kasbauer /WwB, SWI and Fadumo Korn after the reading.

Sängerin Fadumo Korn © BMFG

Vero La Reine, singer

Podium Fadumo Korn © BMFG

f.l.n.r.: Alfons Haider, Fadumo Korn, Sandra Pires, Gertrude Aubauer

Fadumo Korn - My three Lives

An exceptional and impressive reading!

Together with Alfons Haider (actor), Sandra Pires (singer) and Gertrude Aubauer (parliamentarian), Fadumo Korn read out of her book. In a heart rendering way she tells her three lives – from the nomad childhood in the savannahs to Mogadishu, Italy and finally Germany, where she is living today together with her husband and son.

The event took place on October 19th and was organised by the Austrian Ministry for Health and Gender in cooperation with Women without Borders and the Austrian Foundation for World Population and internationale Co-operation (SWI).

With a great sense of humor Fadumo Korn relates her story. Read a few extracts here:

It’s a men’s world….in Somalia

There are very clear definitions about what the men’s and women’s roles are in Somalia. In the society of the Somali nomads men are the clear leaders. The men are travelling; the women are taking care of the animals. No man is doing is women’s work, which means “lower status” work. He is taking care of his camels, shoots lions, and attacks hostile clans. The wife has to take care of the rest. Men are getting the best parts of the meat; women are eating the leftovers. Men have their own places to sleep; women and children are sharing their mats…

Men can enjoy all the liberties – they visit the city, travel around, have more than one woman. A man is allowed to take the children of a woman whenever he wants to; women don’t have any rights in this case.

A witch. I am sure she was a witch ….

The dominant role of men in many parts of Africa is most cruelly represented in the still very common tradition of ritual circumcision of girls.

The woman seemed to be bery old, she walked crooked. But, nevertheless, she was coming closer to us very fast. As soon as she reached us, my mother greeted her respectully. The old women murmured a few words which I couldn´t understand and sat down on the floor without looking at me. She was wearing a dirty, tattered dress, her skin was wrinkly. She put a rag in the dust and started to murmur mystic words to banish all the bad ghosts and demons. A witch. I am sure she was a witch.
The old woman started to empty her bag and to put out her utensils. A little bag with ash. A little cane. A little box with herbal paste, barbs of a thornbush, hairs from an elephant. A razor blade, which she broke into two parts. She had very hooded eyes and I was wondering whether she could even see what she did. She took the little cane, made a slit with the razor blade and put the blade in the slit. Then she put sisal rope around the whole thing. It looked like a little axe. I wanted to shout. I wanted to run away.

Fadumo Korn was already married and living in Germany when she finally became aware of the absurd justifications for circumcision.
In her case, this grey tradition caused a chronic rheumatism. And anorexia.

Her path to finding the right doctors and receive help lead her from Mogadishu via Italy to Bonn and Munich.

I want to share this luck

On some days both of my legs were swollen from hips to toes. I wasn´t even able to go to the toilet by myself. I got asthma. I stopped growing.
But I still went to school. The upcoming final exams were the most important for me. I knew that there might come the day when I would live alone, without anything. So the only thing I could invest in was education, this would always be with me.
I was lucky again, because I had the chance to go to a country where good doctors and clinics existed. My helath problems could be alleviated; there is no way for healing….
I got to know my husband. I found an empathetic doctor. Both of them supported me to become a woman who likes her body. And for this I want to say thank you. And I want to share this luck. I want to support women who are living the same destiny and I want to be a rolemodel for them.

And I want to avoid that girls become victims of this cruel ritual every day. Even if I only can prevent one girl for this, my work was worthwile.


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