Twelve dollars a girl -- that is what Boko Haram is selling the 276 Nigerian schoolgirls they abducted three weeks ago from a school they were attending in the middle of the night. The leader claims he will sell them in the market, that there is a market for selling humans, and that girls should go get married. The group condemns western education as a sin, especially for women. They have already abducted other schoolgirls in the past year and since the 276 were initially abducted, at least another eight girls have been taken. These girls are reportedly as young as 12. (Read the full CNN article) As I write this, I am disgusted, saddened and terrified as to what the future holds for girls around the world, if the world does not unite now and take a stand to demonstrate that these grotesque crimes against humanity will not be tolerated. As Nicholas Kristof, kindly points out, "I'm offended by the contrast between the global media focus on the missing MH370 flight and the uninterest in the even greater number of missing schoolgirls in Nigeria." (Read the full article)
To put things in perspective, $44 million has been spent on a worldwide effort to find missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, and the costs will likely increase. This figure actually only accounts for money spent by four countries, but not that spent by 22 other countries that have also contributed in the search efforts. (Read more) It's been three weeks, and I ask how many countries are offering support to help find these girls and bring justice to those who took them? There were 239 people aboard that flight, and now almost 300 girls missing. Is there a difference in the value of a life? What message are we sending terrorist by not fully investing in this cause?
In order for girls around the world to be able to continue to not only access education, but also to be able to do safely, acts such as these by Boko Haram must come to an end. These brave girls were taking a risk every day by getting an education. They are the future leaders and drivers of change in their communities and economies. It is a tough fight to fight alone, and a global effort is required not only in resources, but also in awareness.
For once a hashtag that matters has gone viral #bringbackourgirls. We should all care about these girls because no child should ever have to endure what these girls are going through, and because if this same incident happened to a girl we knew and loved, we would expect the world to do whatever was possible to save her.
Media, I challenge you to overexpose, create frenzy, exploit actions not taken to preserve the life and well-being of these girls, and to encourage a global movement to take action to bring these girls home. I don't care what latest celebrity gossip is out there, and I don't want to read about Donald Sterling anymore. I want you to keep the world informed as to what is being done to bring back our girls. Slavery, human trafficking, abuse of any kind should never be tolerated against anyone, and so we should not sit back and watch it keep happening. As I mentioned Boko Haram has already gone and abducted a new group of schoolgirls since their mass kidnapping on April 14. It's been three weeks already. Every day that goes by puts these girls more at risk of never being found.
It is times like these that intensify my gratitude for my general day to day safety, my access to education, and my freedom to choose my own path in life as a woman. All women and girls deserve these same basic rights.
What you can do to help from home:
1. Sign the petition
Petitioning All World Leaders
Bring Back Nigeria's 276 Missing School Girls
2. Use social media to spread the word about the situation in Nigeria #BringBackOurGirls
A global community coming together to encourage our governments and leaders to step up and take action is powerful and can drive change. Share articles, share your thoughts, and help raise awareness to bring these girls home.