Help Amina and Zara go back to school
Organized by: Matthew Adimoraegbu
EVENT DATE Dec 31, 2016
On the night of April 14th 2014, 276 female students were kidnapped from a Government Secondary School in the town of Chibok in Borno State, Nigeria. Responsibility for the kidnappings was claimed by Boko Haram, an extremist and terrorist organization based in northeastern Nigeria. 10,000 children have been unable to attend school as a result of activities by Boko Haram (which means Western education is a sin). The group has kidnapped over 1,000 girls, whom it believes should not be educated, and use them as cooks or sex slaves. Non-Muslim students have been forced to convert to Islam and the girls have been forced into marriage with members of Boko Haram.
The account of a girl named Serah abducted for a month in 2014 who told researchers, “After we were declared married, I was ordered to live in his cave, but I always managed to avoid him. He soon began to threaten me with a knife to have sex with him, and when I still refused he brought out his gun, warning that he would kill me if I shouted. Then he began to rape me every night. He was a huge man in his mid-30s, and I had never had sex before. It was very painful, and I cried bitterly because I was bleeding afterwards.” The girl was just 15 at the time. According to Human Rights Watch, some reports have emerged that militants pray before raping women and girls, believing that any children born out of these unions will continue the jihad against the Nigerian government. Zara hopes to become a medical doctor someday.
In May 2016, Amina Ali Nkeki who was among the 276 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram was found by the Nigerian military. She claimed that the remaining girls were still there, but that six had died. However, Amina was found with her 4 month old child both of whom were badly under fed. The baby was fathered by a Boko Haram member whom is yet to be identified. It is further enraging to note that when these girls return to their villages, their families view them with deep suspicion, either because they are carrying the children of Boko Haram fighters or because their communities fear they may have been radicalized during captivity. Not only are many women ostracized, communities fear that babies fathered through sexual violence during captivity "will become the next generation of fighters, as they carry the violent characteristics of their biological fathers”.
The funds raised will be used to sponsor Amina and Serah back to school through the American University of Nigeria Foundation's (AUNF) 'Feed and Read' program. These girls, who otherwise have little or no hope for a better future, deserve a stable school setting that gives them hope for the future and an opportunity to find employment to provide for their families. Empowering and educating girls will help them, their families, their communities and will help to bring long-term stability to the region. The details of the scholarships that the fundraiser will sponsor can be found here.