This April will mark a year since Boko Haram, a terrorist group operating in Nigeria, kidnapped almost 300 girls from their school in Chibok. Only 57 students escaped. The location of the 219 girls still in captivity is unknown but it is assumed the girls have been forced into marriage and child-bearing.
The Guardian reports on how a few of those escapees found their way back to their dream of an education.
A sister of one of the survivors, a quietly spoken woman named Godiya, works at the American University of Nigera. She was determined these girls would have another chance. Many families whose daughters escaped kept them hidden. Or the girls wandered all day in dreadful heat, so they wouldn’t be in the village should another raid occur. Some were quickly married off in a move their families believe would protect them. What they all shared in common was that no one was continuing their education.
Godiya’s journey to provide scholarships and support is one of immense courage – her own, the girls and their families. As one mother poignantly shared, “Education is scary,” she begins quietly. “So many people have discouraged us, and told us we should not put our girls in school or they will be kidnapped again. We are entrusting our children to you.”
Three of the Chibok girls are now studying at the University. The young women have turned down all offers of counseling so far. They apparently pray every night and talk to each other. They don’t want to talk to anyone else about their experiences. However, when asked to write an essay on what education meant to them, one of the girls responded, “Education gives me the wings I need to fly.”
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Godiya’s own experiences and her commitment to the girls of Chibok is a must read. Check out her full story and how she worked with frightened families to help these girls live out their dreams. You’ll find The Guardian’s article here.