As Thanksgiving approaches, I have been thinking about what I am most grateful for. This year, with the sight of the brave women and men protesting the tyrannical Iranian regime, I am thankful for all heroes like them. Such people speak up loudly against injustice, at great risk to themselves, and their voices can inspire the rest of us, wherever we are, whatever challenges we face.
Over the past 15 years, AHA Foundation has worked with hundreds of survivors, from the U.S. and beyond, of oppressive traditions like female genital mutilation (FGM), child/forced marriage, and honor violence. Despite facing many risks, they spoke up and fought to protect other women and girls from the abuses they suffered.
One by one, their stories punched holes through the wall of silence surrounding these abuses in the U.S. They inspired thousands of people to join the fight and their testimonies helped move legislators to pass bans against these abuses in their states. Their bravery inspired other survivors to speak out, too.
In the blog this month, we feature two heroic survivors of abuse who have gone on to become great champions of women’s rights.
First, I want to share with you part one of a heart-breaking story of child marriage in America. Sara Tasneem suffered, but has not been cowed by what she went through—she survived, and now she fights for justice. In the first blog of two (watch out for the second part next month), she tells us her story of abuse—and how she overcame it. Read it here.
Second, AHA Foundation spoke to Bayor Chantal Ngoltoingar, who we met at a recent AHA anti-FGM training in D.C. She was forced to undergo FGM in her native Chad. Despite the threats she faced if she spoke out, she refused to be silenced, and now tells her story whenever she can to inspire others to oppose FGM. Read that blog here.
Thank you, Sara and Bayor, for being such inspiring voices in the fight for women’s rights. I am so grateful for the heroism of women like you.
Coming up on November 29 is Giving Tuesday, the time of year when you can show the generosity of spirit that truly makes America a great nation. And this year your Giving Tuesday gift will go even further. One of our donors has pledged $50,000 in matched funds to AHA Foundation. You can help us unlock this money by giving a gift today.
Please, be a hero for the women and girls we fight for. Give a gift today. This Thanksgiving, I’m also so grateful to you, our supporters, who make all the work we do possible.
With warmth and gratitude,
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Founder