A letter from the chairwoman, Diariou

Since 2011, GAMS Belgium has been accompanying pregnant women during their pregnancy with workshops preparing for birth, as well as post-natal sessions with the babies. These workshops allow women to ask questions, to obtain reliable information to make informed choices, to share their knowledge, to create a space of support between them… The life paths and female genital mutilation can provoke important fears related to the childbirth. These meetings provide an opportunity to name these fears, to listen to other women who have already given birth, to deconstruct certain beliefs, to strengthen women’s own capacities, and to encourage them to ask for support from the professionals who will accompany them.

GAMS’ president, Diariou Sow, participated in these workshops with other women affected by FGM. Right here, she addresses her first child, before birth:

My Dear Child,

Thanks to you, I will be able to experience this new experience of motherhood!
You arrived without making a noise, you settled in my womb in silence and in secret.
I had long imagined, hoped and desired to be a mother. Someone’s mother!

In silence, I said to myself: if you are a girl in this world, then I would say this to you:

No patriarchal system could reduce you to a mere social position. No tradition, no custom and no culture will rob you of “your cradle of womanhood” because you will remain intact with a blossoming and flourishing clitoris. You will live in this world building your own identity by living harmoniously with your whole being and with all my love, support and that of your loving father. I will not be able to prevent you from experiencing the ups and downs of life, nor will I be able to protect you from the experiences of life and of this world, but Mummy will always be there for you… Sexuality will not be a taboo subject between us, the honour of the family will not rest between your legs. You will always be listened to, heard and respected. I will try to instil in you the fundamental values of our society, self-respect, respect for one another. Tolerance, forgiveness, fairness, the notion of social justice, human dignity… My child, in all religions, we find love!

My daughter, you will not be a princess, nor a doll, you will not be a “a perfect woman”. However, you will be authentic.
My child, long before you were born, your mother had already prepared your arrival in a world where you will not be cut, you will not be mutilated in your flesh and above all you will not live in the shame and exclusion of not having been cut. You will be intact, a complete vulva! You will not live with the lack and the longing for the intact clitoris that is mine!

If you are born a little boy!
Know my boy, where I come from, having a first born boy is the greatest honor for the family, as well as the pride of a mother. Of course I am extremely proud to be your mum and your dad will will be proud too. We are proud mainly because you are the fruit of our love, and we wanted you and not for what you are or what you represent in society.

My boy, no man is superior to a woman because of his sex, his strength or his social position. A man treats a woman as his equal, his partner.
A man can do everything, do the same job as the woman, do the housework, play his role as a father to the full.

My boy, your emotions are not to be rejected, but welcomed. Don’t be afraid to express your feelings in this world. I know the world expects you to be a tough guy, but your mum is there for you to love you, accompany you and let you define your own identity.
“Don’t be a man, be a human being, be you, be true, and most of all be happy, my boy.

My love for you is unconditional. You will have the same education if you’re a girl, because in our family, we are actors and actresses of change for a better world and fighters against all forms of gender-based violence.

My child, whether you are a girl or a boy, you are a part of us.

Before you were born, I took the time to find my love, an extraordinary future father for my future children. Your dad is my ideal man. So what a joy to know that he will be your father, that he will always be there for us and above all, he will give us the best of himself.

So live, blossom, grow, discover, learn, give, forgive, receive, share, hold on, let go when you have to, invent, go forward and step back when you have to.

Mum will always be there for you in this life and in another!

With all my love


Diariou Sow, President of GAMS Belgium