On April 14, 2014, nearly a year ago, the Nigerian militant group Boko Haram kidnapped 276 schoolgirls, between the ages of 16 and 18, in the town of Chibok. The Nigerian government has so far proven powerless in their pursuit of the militant organization that now controls most of northeastern Nigeria. Although the twitter campaign #BringBackOurGirls was quickly picked up by commercial media and popularized by Michelle Obama, it gathered less than 9,000 followers and did little to galvanize the world.
The Safe Schools Initiative, a fund set up to pilot 500 safe schools in northern Nigeria and led by Nduka Obaigbena, brings the Nigerian government and Nigerian business leaders together with the international community to ensure that all children are secure when learning. The fund total currently stands at $23 million. Ultimately, young people will demonstrate because they see the connection between abductions in Nigeria, the rapes and murders of young girls in India, the so-called "honor killings" of Pakistani girls who marry against family wishes, the genital mutilation of girls in preparation for child marriages across Africa and the ever-present reality that 7 million school-aged girls are working full time, often in slave labour conditions, many of them trafficked out of their home country when they should be at school.