Abay, 28
Awash Fontale, Ethiopia

Abay was born into a culture in which almost all girls are circumcised before the age of 12. When it came time for her circumcision ceremony, Abay said, "No." When her mother's demands became unbearable, Abay ran away to live with a godfather. Eight years later, Abay returned to her village as an outreach worker for CARE. After five years, she finally convinced one of the women to let her film a circumcision ceremony. She then showed the film to the male leaders. They had never seen a female circumcision and were horrified. Two weeks later, the male leaders called a special meeting and voted 15 to 2 to end female circumcision in their village.


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