Khadi­ja Gbla

Anti-FGM activist

Khadi­ja Gbla

Anti-FGM activist

Khadi­ja Gbla grew up in Sier­ra Leone. As a young girl, she was sub­jec­ted to Female Gen­it­al Mutil­a­tion (FGM). As a woman, she lives with the con­sequences of FGM every­day. She is determ­ined that this form of abuse again­st young girls will end, and she wants to end it in her life­time.

This talk is one of three TEDx­Can­ber­ra Talks to be selec­ted to fea­ture on the main TED.com web­site. Few­er than one per­cent of all TEDx Talks around the world are selec­ted for this hon­or.


Khadi­ja Gbla was just 3-years-old when the war broke out in her coun­try, Sier­ra Leone. While her fam­ily ini­tially escaped to Gam­bia, 10 years later they attained refugee status and resettled in Adelaide, Aus­tralia. The trans­ition was com­plex — Khadi­ja exper­i­enced racism, ill­ness and depres­sion — but threw her­self into her edu­ca­tion. She dis­covered that she had a unique tal­ent: the abil­ity to trans­late across two very dif­fer­ent cul­tures.

Khadi­ja first used this tal­ent as a peer edu­cat­or for South Australia’s Women’s Heath Statewide pro­gram, where she talked to health pro­fes­sion­als about female gen­it­al mutil­a­tion — help­ing them under­stand what it is, where it hap­pens, and the cul­tur­al beliefs that sur­round it. She’s since used her mul­ti­cul­tur­al voice to offer advice on poli­cy through South Aus­trali­an Gov­ern­ment Minister’s Youth Coun­cil, to organ­ize camps and activ­it­ies for newly-arrived refugees and to raise aware­ness about both sexu­al and men­tal health issues among her peers. She has rep­res­en­ted Aus­tralia in the inter­na­tion­al arena at the Har­vard Nation­al Mod­el United Nations, Com­mon­wealth Youth For­um and Aus­trali­an and Africa Dia­logue, and speaks reg­u­larly at a wide vari­ety of events to make sure that her per­spect­ive is heard.