In 2005, I read an article about a woman from Somalia who had experienced something called female genital mutilation (FGM). Although I was born in Liberia, a country that practices FGM at a fairly high degree, I had never heard of FGM until 2005. What I did vaguely know about was female circumcision. I then discovered that female genital mutilation and female circumcision were one and the same. That discovery took me back to my early childhood in Liberia, when topless adolescent girls were paraded around with white chalked covered bodies. I had been told that they were prepared for marriage at the time. What was not said to me is that they had also undergone female circumcision (FGM). My curiosity grew to a level of passion,and I set out to research for additional information and write articles about it. Between 2006 and 2008, I was so enthralled by what my research had provided that I set out to take a private survey of Washington, D.C. metro riders. Whoever sat next to me during my long commute from Northern Virginia to Washington, D.C. was asked if he or she had ever heard of something called female genital mutilation. They were all astonished to discover that FGM was present in the United States. I knew that something needed to be done to assist the women that had experienced FGM and to help protect the girls from it.
I did not know how I was going to carry it out but I knew that I was compelled to take action. When my sons saw how passionate I was about FGM, they suggested that I establish a non-profit organization. I initially hesitated but in 2010 I found myself actually setting up the Global Woman Foundation. The name of the organization was changed in the same year, after my younger son agreed to merge his non-profit, People Everywhere All Created Equal (P.E.A.C.E.) with Global Woman.Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation was officially established and two years later in March 2012 we received our 501(c)(3) tax exempt status from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation is not only my ministry, it is also my life. The young women whom we assist are now family to me. I think of them as my daughters to whom I give love, understanding and compassion.I pray for them when I pray for my own children and grandchildren. I applaud and cherish our volunteers, interns, board members, committee members, donors and contributors because we do this work with passion and dedication. This is the work to which I am committed to doing for as long as I remain on this earth. Won’t you join us and become a part of this magnificent team?
Founder-Angela Peabody, 2017