Bogaletch Gebre, or Boge, as she is more commonly known, grew up in the 1960s in a small village in the Kembatta district of southern Ethiopia. Boge was like any typical Ethiopian girl –she fetched water and helped her mother with cooking and chores. And, like any typical Ethiopian girl of that time, she suffered female genital mutilation. When she was about twelve years old, a man held her down while two strong women held her legs, and a third woman sat between them—using a razor to slash at her genitals.
Boge nearly bled to death…
Boge’s wounds eventually healed, and she continued with her daily routines. But, unlike a typical Ethiopian girl, Boge attended school in secret, leaving her house early in the morning to fetch water and hiding the water pot in the bushes while attending classes for a few hours. Her uncle helped her complete her chores, and by the time her secret was discovered, Boge could already read. She went on to study microbiology and physiology in Israel and then in the United States, where she a Fulbright scholar at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and later at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Boge realized that she had been given great opportunities in her life, opportunities that were unheard of for the people in her village. In 1997, Boge returned to Ethiopia in order to give back and help change the lives of girls in her community. KMG Ethiopia was born. KMG stands for Kembatti Mentti-Gezimma-Tope, a phrase in the oral language of Kembatta that reflects the power women generate when working together. We truly believe that communities, women and men working harmoniously together, have the power to make informed decisions and make great change for themselves.
Following the tenacious spirit of our visionary leader, KMG Ethiopia continues ensuring empowering, thoughtful and positive change for women in Ethiopia.
As Boge says
“In the long run, stronger women create stronger communities, stronger women create a stronger nation, and stronger women create a stronger Africa.”