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Kakuma refugees fighting FGM stigma through short films

Friday June 05 2020
FGM

Amina Rwimo and Abdul Patient. PHOTO | COURTESY

By HILLARY KIMUYU

Aminah Rwimo came to Kenya nine years ago working at a hospital inside Kakuma refugee camp and what she witnessed when it came to female genital mutilation (FGM) moved her so much she decided to do something to help the best way she knew how, through film.

She enrolled in FilmAid’s skills development programme, and in 2015 won the Best Director award at the FilmAid Film Festival. Her journey had began and on Thursday, her dream was realised when FilmAid Kenya and Amnesty International premiered her film “It Has Killed My Mother” at a packed auditorium.

Rwimo, who is Congolese, hopes to start a conversation on the effects of FGM, a backdated right of passage ritual that only brings harm to young girls and women. Rwimo’s short drama captures the effects of FGM through a heartfelt love story set at the Kakuma refugee camp.

“In Kakuma many women are prevented from achieving their goals because of some of the cultures and beliefs. Those who can talk on their behalf should be telling their story through visual communication and make the changes they need to regain control of their lives,” says Rwimo.

She added that, while working at the hospital she would come across women who had undergone the practice and whose lives had been permanently altered. “It saddened me to see young girls die because of this practice. In a month I would witness two or more deaths.”

FilmAid’s programs in Kenya are extensive. They work in Kakuma and Dadaab refugee camps as well as informal urban settlements in Nairobi, to support and empower marginalised communities.

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Abdul Patient, a refugee from Burundi has lived in Kakuma for ten years and was the cinematographer in “It Has Killed My Mother” says FilmAid helped him launch his own production company.

The film was acted, produced and directed by refugees who live at the refugee camp.

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