The escalating violence in Nigeria has led to thousands of people fleeing to safety both within the country and to neighboring countries such as Chad, Niger and Cameroon. At SOS Children's Villages, we're keeping a watchful eye on our children and staff living in Nigeria, especially for those in cities like Jos -- where recent bomb explosions killed more than 100 people.
The country recently gained international attention after the militant group Boko Haram abducted nearly 300 young girls from a boarding school in Chibok, Nigeria. These are girls who were taken away from their families and robbed of their dreams. These are girls who sought education and have the potential to become teachers, doctors, or lawyers, but whose fate is now unknown.
Boko Haram's deliberate plan to sow chaos throughout the country has devastated the lives of these girls and their families. And the destructive extended effect of the tragedy means that its impact will reach far beyond the lives of these girls; it will also affect the lives of many Nigerian children now and into the future.
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Nigeria's conflict has directly impacted approximately 9.5 million people. Parents and caregivers have lost their livelihoods and so their ability to support their families, leading to an increase in unaccompanied children in the region. With this collapse of families and community structures, children have been left to fend for themselves, making them easy recruits for militant groups or criminal activities.
Like the Nigerian girls who were abducted, these abandoned children, too, have been robbed of their potential. Their dreams ignored.
At SOS Children's Villages, we see the positive impact a loving, stable home can have on the lives of vulnerable children. Our SOS Villages in Nigeria provide each child with a loving SOS Mother who ensures every child is given the care and support needed to reach their full potential. On a global scale, our SOS Mothers help over 80,000 children overcome emotional, behavioral and physical challenges to grow and thrive.
We want to do more, but we need your help.
As we call on the international community to safely #BringBackOurGirls, let's also raise our voices for the millions of children left behind by conflict, poverty, abandonment and neglect in Nigeria and around the world.
Join us in our efforts to ensure each child has the building blocks for a successful life: a happy childhood in a stable home, quality education and healthcare, and loving bonds that last a lifetime.
Together we can help ensure a brighter, hopeful future for generations to come.