Duke Woman Crush Wednesday: Jaha Dukureh

Gambian woman rights advocate and opponent of female genital mutilation Jaha Dukureh was born between 1989 and 1990.

She is the founder and executive director of Safe Hands for Girls, a group fighting to eradicate FGM, and she served as the principal advocate in The Guardian’s End FGM Guardian Global Media Campaign.

She is an ambassador for Africa for UN Women.

Born in Gambia, Dukureh after one week of life, underwent Type III female genital mutilation. She traveled to New York City at the age of 15 to attend an arranged marriage that had been set up years before after her mother passed away.

She had surgery to remove the infibulation after finding it difficult to consummate her marriage, she compared it to “going through the FGM all over again.”

Upon the dissolution of her marriage, Dukureh moved in with her relatives. She was refused by ten different high schools because she lacked the approval of a legal guardian, but she eventually managed to enroll at a school in New York City.

She remarried and relocated to Atlanta, Georgia, at the age of 17.

At Georgia Southwestern State University, Dukureh graduated in 2013 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management. She established the non-profit anti-FGM group Safe Hands for Girls in that year.

In the latter part of 2015, she acquired American citizenship.

In 2018, the University of Central Florida awarded Dukureh a Master’s degree in Non-Profit Management.

Female genital mutilation was outlawed in Gambia as a result of Dukureh’s activism.

At the moment, Dukureh resides in Atlanta.

The documentary Jaha’s Promise, produced by The Guardian, debuted in 2017.

Dukureh joined the People’s Democratic Organization for Independence and Socialism in March 2021 and on October 13, 2021, she declared her intention to run for Gambian presidency 2021 presidential election. However Halifa Sallah was chosen to run as the PDOIS candidate in November 2021, making Dukureh’s campaign eventually unsuccessful.

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