An Exclusive will return August 9th. Join us then, when we bring you another fascinating person.
Vacances San Excision translated from French to English is Vacation or Summer Without Cutting. The American branch of the Inter African Committee (IAC-USA) on traditional practices, affecting the health of women and children is hosting the second Vacances San Excision; a special summer camp in the United States to teach, not only children but parents alike about the alternatives to Vacation Cutting. The camp opens on Saturday, August 13th at 8:00am and closes on Sunday, August 14th at 3:00pm.
The camp costs only Ten U.S. Dollars ($10) per child for two full days including meals and activities. There are some children whose families are not in the position to afford the registration fee of $10. IAC-USA has implemented a special sponsorship program for the children; they are currently accepting sponsorship of a child or children. If you are able to purchase lunch for a day for $10 or more, you are able to sponsor a child to attend this important camp.
The camp’s opening site on Saturday is the Salvation Army at 20120 Century Boulevard, Germantown, Maryland 20874. On the second day of the camp on Sunday, the children will play soccer and other types of games at the Blackhill Regional Park at, 20930 Lake Ridge Drive, Boyds, Maryland 20841. The children and their parents will enjoy two full days of games, African traditional lessons, including dance, art, home economics, meals, etc.
The purpose of Vacances San Excision is to demonstrate to the parents and children that vacation can be spent full of fun and learning without the lifetime trauma of cutting little girls. In most practicing countries of the world, summer school breaks are considered high season for performing female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) on girls. Therefore a year ago, IAC-USA implemented the idea of opening a camp to demonstrate the importance of teaching children about their heritage; this includes necessary cultural traditions such as dance, dress, food, art as opposed to FGM/C.
In countries such as Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, the girls enter the society bush to go through the rite of passage to womanhood. During their stay in the “bush”, they teach them to make baskets, cook meals, farming, how to be good wives and mothers, etc. However baskets, meals and farming are not the only things the girls experience in the “bush”; they also undergo female genital mutilation/cutting as part of the passage to womanhood. Camp Vacances San Excision will teach girls all of the lessons learned in the Sande and Bondo Society Bush, but without the ritualistic cutting of their genitals.
Vacation Cutting is when girls are taken to their parents’ countries of origin from either the United States or a European country for the purpose of having female genital mutilation/cutting performed on them. In the year 2013, the U.S. passed the law against Vacation Cutting; if anyone, including a parent takes a child from U.S. soil to another country for the purpose of having FGM/C performed on her will be subject to five-year imprisonment and a fine or more.
Following Vacances San Excision, the parents will also have the opportunity to celebrate with the general public the evening of Saturday, August 20th in a closing ceremony and fundraising dinner at the Embassy of Cote d’Ivoire from 5:00pm until 9:00pm. The Embassy of Cote d’Ivoire is located at 2424 Massachusetts Avenue in Northwest Washington, D.C. 20007. For additional information about the camp and the closing ceremony dinner, visit www.iac-usa.org.