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Desert Flower

by Sherry Horman

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Waris is born into a family of nomads in the Somali desert. At the age of 12 she escapes from an arranged marriage, fleeing to Mogadishu. From there she makes her way to London, where she is discovered by the famous photographer Terence Donovan while cleaning floors in McDonald’s. She has no passport or residence visa, she can hardly speak a word of English, and she can neither read nor write – and yet she manages to become a supermodel. But part of her soul remains in Africa, though this was where she had to endure the most terrible suffering as a young girl. At the age of five she was circumcised. Now, in an article in Marie Claire, she breaks her silence after all these years. Kofi Anan, Secretary General of the United Nations, appoints her special ambassador to lead the struggle against female genital mutilation … 6000 girls all around the world are subjected to this brutal treatment every day.

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