A total of 400 school going-age children in Amudat District have fled their homes in the last 10 months for fear of being subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM).
The children aged between three and 12 years, have abandoned cattle keeping and enrolled in schools.
Most of the children are now admitted in Kalas boys and girls Primary Schools respectively in Amudat Town Council. A few are receiving their education at Katabok Primary school among others.
Lotai Chepkiror, now in primary three at Kalas Girls, tells Redpepper that she fled her home for fear of FGM. She explains that she saw her sister die in pain after undergoing the practice some four years ago. She adds that the practice has made several girls lose their lives. She asks government to be serious with parents who offer their daughters for FGM.
Stephen Nsubuga Bewaayo, the Resident District Commissioner Amudat, says several households have realized the disadvantages of FGM. He notes that some parents have been jailed for forcing their daughters to undergo FGM and to look after animals.
Benton Luke, the District Inspector of Schools, says education authorities have been overwhelmed at the rate children are running away from their homes. He is optimistic that by the end of the year the number would have doubled. He notes that during the mutilation season between July and September, numbers are likely to swell as several children will be fleeing their homes. He appeals to government to put in place facilities that would support the children to stay in school.
FGM still persists in areas of Karamoja and Kapchorwa despite being outlawed in April 2010 by government. The practice is secretly being carried out by the Tepeth in Moroto district, Pokot and Sabiny in Amudat and Kapchorwa areas respectively.