Jaha DukurehWomen's Rights Activist
Raising Awareness and Empowering Women
Jaha Dukureh, named one of 2016 TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World, is the founder and executive director of Safe Hands for Girls. As a survivor of female genital mutilation (FGM) and early marriage, Jaha started Safe Hands out of her living room after realizing that there were so many girls and women like her in her community, and a survivor-led movement and support system was overdue.
Each year, three million girls and women around the world are at risk of undergoing FGM. 200 million are already affected, including over 500,000 here in the United States. It’s one of the most violent acts against women but also happens to be perhaps the one with the least attention.
Jaha is a lightning-rod for change. To date, her work has contributed to the government ban on FGM and child marriage in her native country, The Gambia. Jaha’s efforts have resulted in a petition signed by over 200,000 people in the U.S. which inspired recognition of the issue by President Obama. She is subject of the The Guardian's documentary film "Jaha's Promise.” She was just appointed the United Nations Ambassador on FGM and Child Marriage and was recognized as the 2017 Humanitarian of the Year by African Diaspora Network.