As a survivor of FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) herself, Rhobi Samwelly is determined that the girls now growing up in Mara will not suffer as she did. As a 13 year old she knew well the dangers of FGM, as one of her friends had died from the practice the previous year. She pleaded in vain with her parents not to subject her to it. Having nowhere to turn she had no choice but to submit to the cut, which almost cost her her life as she bled so much she fell unconscious.

Rhobi Samwelli taking the anti-FGM message to a remote village
Rhobi Samwelli taking the anti-FGM message to remote villages

Twenty years later she finally achieved her dream and set up the Mugumu Safe House – a sanctuary where girls refusing FGM can turn during the annual “cutting season”. To ensure girls know they have a safe place to turn, Rhobi visits the remote villages where they are most at risk to tell them about their rights. But there are no maps available meaning it is very hard to ensure all villages are covered. Villages like Sogoti were forgotten by the outside world. Rhobi had to cut down trees to reach it the first time she visited.

Now we have added the school to Openstreetmap, but not yet the roads leading to it, making navigation still difficult.

javita in village of sogoti, mara, tanzania
Javita in village of Sogoti

We want to ensure that girls in villages like Sogoti are protected from FGM and forced marriage. Rhobi wants an activist in each village that girls at risk can turn to, and each of these places clearly labelled on a map, with a contact number. Then girls in danger can more easily be directed to people who will help them, and be found easily by safe house staff.

We have started the map – please join us to complete it here.. and help protect girls like Javita.