Being part of the V-Day movement, has allowed me to expand my work to end FGM and early marriage and to reach more girls and their communities than I could have imagined
New York, NY (Vocus) October 20, 2009
Agnes Pareyio, the internationally recognized leader dedicated to ending female genital mutilation (FGM) in Kenya, has been named Kenya Director for V-Day, the global activist movement to end violence against women and girls.
Ms. Pareyio, who was named the United Nations in Kenya Person of the Year in 2005, has worked with V-Day since 2002. She is the founder and director of the first V-Day Safe House for the Girls, which was established for young women and girls fleeing FGM in Narok, Kenya. The Safe House provides a safe haven for girls escaping from FGM and early marriage - a place where young women can safely celebrate an alternative "rite of passage," enabling Masai women to follow their tradition without undergoing the cut.
"After witnessing Agnes and the power of her transformative work over 7 years, I am proud and honored that she will now be the director of V-Day in Kenya. Agnes is a force of nature with a vision as strong as her heart and I know that under her leadership she will bring about the day when we know longer know FGM in Masailand," stated Ensler.
In the summer of 2009, Ms. Paryeio and V-Day opened the second V-Day Safe House in Kenya, the Sakutiek Rescue Center. The house is located in the Rift Valley in Masailand, 100 miles West of Nairobi and next door to two schools facilitating the continued education for the girls who are housed there.
As Kenya Director for V-Day, Agnes will lead efforts across Kenya and Africa, working with activists to further spread the Safe House model and the message of V-Day towards ending violence against women and girls.
"Being part of the V-Day movement, has allowed me to expand my work to end FGM and early marriage and to reach more girls and their communities than I could have imagined," stated Pareyio. "Knowing that we in Kenya are connected to thousands of V-Day activists around the world inspires us to continue the work we do. I am proud to lead V-Day's work in Kenya."
Agnes began her efforts to end FGM by walking from village to village in the Rift valley of Kenya on foot in 2000, educating boys and girls, mothers and fathers about the dangers of the practice. By 2002, Agnes' work had stopped 1,500 girls from being cut and, after V-Day bought her a jeep, Agnes had stopped another 4,500 girls from being cut by 2003.
V-Day is a global activist movement shattering taboos, raising millions and transforming communities to end violence against women and girls. Annually, activists stage thousands of benefit productions of Founder/playwright Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues and other works. Working at the intersection of art, social action, and politics, V-Day empowers grassroots activists to become leaders, turning pain to power. To date, the V-Day movement has raised over $70 million, crafted international educational, media and PSA campaigns, reopened shelters, and funded over 11,000 community-based anti-violence programs and safe houses in Democratic Republic Of Congo, Egypt, Haiti, Iraq, Kenya, Pakistan, and South Dakota. V-Day was named one of Worth magazine's "100 Best Charities" in 2001 and Marie Claire's "Top Ten Charities" in 2006. The 'V' in V-Day stands for Victory, Valentine and Vagina. http://www.vday.org .
Susan Celia Swan