2016 Great Immigrants Recipient

Jaha Dukureh
Founder, Safe Hands for Girls
Born in:
Gambia

“The fact that I am now an American citizen and can say what I want, speak freely about these things, and know I am protected by law... it's great. It's emotional. It's the American Dream. It's that success that all immigrants dream of when they come to the U.S.," Jaha Dukureh told CNN in 2016. A women’s rights activist and anti-female genital mutilation (FGM) campaigner, she first gained prominence with her successful change.org petition urging the Obama administration to study the scope of FGM in the U.S. Dukureh - herself a survivor of FGM and forced child marriage - landed on “Time” magazine's 2016 list of the 100 most influential people in the world. She is the founder of Safe Hands for Girls, an organization that fights to end FGM and provides support to survivors in both the U.S. and abroad. Her efforts contributed to the Gambian government’s ban on FGM and a federal law in the U.S. making it illegal to transport girls abroad for that purpose. In 2018, Dukureh became the first United Nations Women Goodwill Ambassador for Africa and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Updated 2018

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