Desert Flower: The Extraordinary Story of A Desert Nomad

by Waris Dirie and Cathleen Miller

This book tells the story of Waris Dirie, from Somalia to England, from servant to international model, from a victim of violence to healing and eventually becoming a UN ambassador challenging the practice of FGM, in a world where 3 million women and girls are cut every year.

Waris Dirie was born in Somalia and as a teenager, she was sent to London with a rich uncle who promised her mother that he would educate her and help her create a new life beyond the tiny village where she grew up.
In reality, she became a domestic servant in his house, trapped with virtually no English and the threat of violence if she tried to leave. Before she left home, she experienced what happened to all the girls in her village: female genital mutilation (FGM).
It could be a story of great sorrow and gruesome facts, but actually this is a book full of hope and humour, like the flower which blooms in the Somali desert which Waris is named after.  She offers an authentic voice compassionately shedding light on the forces which lead fathers and mothers to put their daughters through FGM, and while being honest about the struggles, her love for Somali culture shines through.
What to Read Next:

Want to take action? Add your voice to Avaaz’s petition in support of a move by the Somalian government to ban FGM.