Source: The Star                                                                                                                                                                                                                  More than 600 girls in Kuria have denounced female genital mutilation. The girls, aged between five and 15, have appealed to their parents to take them to school. They said they want to "meet the circumciser's knife in books".

The girls said most of them drop out of school due to early marriages organised by parents and guardians as boys proceed with their education. "We are telling our parents to cut our brains with books, not knives. Let us become women without the cut. We say no to FGM," they said.

The girls were speaking at a prayer function in Ntimaru organised by World Vision officials and the Migori government. They visited World Vision offices last week to seek help.

The organisation sought a rescue centre at Kwibancha Girls' High School as it organised the Saturday meeting to denounce the practice. Kuria World Vision programme manager Tom Masinde and Pastor Ezekiel Mosati said they will continue to support girls' education.

"Stick to your decision. Do not go for the cut after this meeting. Many girls have succeeded without undergoing the practice cut. We want you to become great women," said Masinde. "We were happy when more girls came out to denounce the practice. joining the rest over the weekend."

The leaders urged the county assembly to draft laws that will protect girls against retrogressive cultural practices. They appealed for more rescue centres.

Currently a rescue centre at Kegonga Health Centre serves Kuria East and Kuria subcounties. Girls run to the centres to escape the circumciser's knife, especially during the December holidays.

"This practice is shameful and we need to unite to fight it. Our community must change so that girls can get the right education," said nominated MCA Rahab Robi. Kuria East subcounty administrator Mary Maisori said she is married but she did not undergo the cut.

"Do not be cheated that you will not get married if you are not circumcised. I got my job because of my academic papers. The job advert did not ask for those who had been cut," she told the girls.

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