In 1965, in Gallcaio Somalia, Waris Dirie was born to a nomad family. At the age of five, Waris had the procedure,
"Genital Mutilation"done, which even today still goes on worldwide mainly by Muslims, and Christians. At the age of thirteen she left her family, and went to London, to escape an arranged marriage to a man old enough to be her grandfather. While living in London, she worked at McDonalds, and lived w/worked for her wealthy relatives.
Waris, 18, was discovered by top British photographer Terence Donovan, and instantly made into an international celeb. Waris was featured in/on numerous projects. She made the cover of the 1987 calendar Pirelli, given a role in James Bonds' movie " The Living Daylight", which co starred Timothy Dalton, she was in runways of Milan, London, Paris, and New York, and featured in fashion magazines such as; Elle, Vogue, and Glamour.
Kofi Annan, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, appointed Waris a UN Special Ambassador for the dismissal of Female Genital Mutilation. She traveled the world, participated in conferences, met w/ Nobel Prize Winners, Presidents, movie stars, and collected hefty funds for the United Nations.
1998, Waris came out w/ her first book entitled, Desert Flower, which received great praise on the charts and her other books, Desert Lawn, Desert Childern, and Letter to my Mother, became international best sellers.
Although Waris encountered multiple attacks, she never gave up on herself, and stayed committed to her mission; FGM.
Waris in 2002 founded the Waris Dirie Foundation in Vienna Austria, which was all about rising the awareness of the dangers of FGM. In 2009, Waris established the PPR Foundation for Women's Dignity and Rights, which she founded along with Francois-Henri Pinault; CEO of PPR, amd his wife Salma Hayek. She also founded the Desert Dawn Foundation, who raise money for clinics and schools in Somalia.
Waris was awarded prizes, and awards for her humanitarian work, and novels.
- In 2000, Woman of the Year, by Glamour Magazine
- In 2004 "Women's World Award" from former Russian President, Mikhail Gorbachev
Just to name a few.
If you would like to read futher on Waris Dirie you can visit www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waris_Dirie & www.waris-dirie-foundation.com