The story of Ms. Waris is both thought provoking and inspirational, as she tenaciously beats the odds against her through a cultural practice of the life she was born into. Desert Flower portrays a 13 year old Somali who left her home to avoid an arranged marriage to an older man. The journey through the deserts of Somalia leads her to London where she struggles through various trials eventually leading to her discovery by British fashion photographer Terence Donovan and becoming one of the world’s most famous fashion models.
The movie Desert Flower was adapted from Ms. Waris book which shares the same title, written in 1998. The movie highlights several hurdles Waris had to conquer to get where she is today. The movie's pivotal scene was when Waris revealed to her friend (played by Sally Hawkins) that she had undergone genital mutilations as part of her custom, this eventually leads to a worldwide campaign effort to end Female Genital Mutilation, leading Ms. Waris Dirie to become a spokesperson for the United Nations on the issues dealing with Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
Waris Dirie heads the Desert Flower Foundation.
This film deals with a very sensitive subject, one that has gained world wide attention.
The World Health Organization has released it's fact sheet in February 2012 concerning Female Genital Mutilation.