We Need to Move From Awareness to Action for the Kidnapped Nigerian Schoolgirls

Should attending school mean you risk kidnapping and slavery? When Boko Haram kidnapped hundreds of schoolgirls in Nigeria and threatened to sell them, we asked why? Roughly translated, Boko Haram means “Western education is evil.” Education is the key to the future, particularly for girls in Africa. Schoolgirls should not have to pay such a price for wanting to be teachers or doctors.

Boko Haram is an extremist group that reminds us of the equally evil Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), which traumatized northern Uganda for decades. Aid for Africa member Invisible Children has worked for almost a decade to bring attention to the LRA’s kidnapping of girls for sex slaves and boys for soldiers and to its demonic leader Joseph Kony. Like the LRA, Boko Haram must be stopped.

It is heartening to learn that the Nigerian government is now taking the kidnappings seriously. A recent video reportedly showing more than one hundred of the girls dressed in traditional Islamic garb along with indications that Boku Haram may consider the girls’ release as part of a prisoner swap does give us some hope.

But Kony’s LRA has taught us that this will not be quick or easy.

We must go beyond mere awareness as we watch wailing mothers plead for their daughters and learn of more death and destruction at the hands of Boko Haram in recent days. We must do more. We must move to action.

We need a response equal to the response to the LRA. That included 3.6 million individuals who signed pledges and thousands who lobbied their lawmakers resulting in a law that allows the U.S. Government to offer rewards for information leading to Kony’s arrest. Through thousands of small fundraisers, Invisible Children went on to erect a network of radio towers to warn villages in central Africa of possible LRA attacks, thus making communities safer.

With the Nigerian Government’s acceptance of U.S. military aid to find the schoolgirls, we are beginning to see action. In the meantime, we can:

  • Support the right of girls in all nations to go to school and stand in solidarity with the kidnapped schoolgirls of Nigeria.
  • Support all efforts that will lead to the Nigerian schoolgirls safe return.
  • Support organizations that fund girls’ education in Africaómany that are Aid for Africa member organizations.
  • Call on our own government to pressure governments in Africa and around the world to make schools safe havens for learning for girls and boys.

We can start with #BringBackOurGirls and move to action. Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.


Janice Thompson
Janice Thompson3 years ago

Watch out America, they are coming for your girls next.

Janice Thompson
Janice Thompson3 years ago

You shun female births then you have no females to supply your country with new growth. How stupid can you get.

Biby C.
Biby C3 years ago

Education is haram. What they're doing to these girls is not. Sick bastards!

Rose Roma
Rose R3 years ago

Nikki D.! You are so wrong ... about the inevitable & irreparable damage to these girls! That is what society used to say about girls who "lost their virginity" before marriage in any culture & any religion AND what was said about both the unwed mothers plus their "Bastard" children. WITH EDUCATION MORES CHANGE. AS LONG AS THERE IS LIFE, THERE IS HOPE. We also need to demand more of all men everywhere; demand more and expect more of our media and journalism and news; step up, speak up. This is defining time in the world. How are you spending your time and opportunity and any privileged position of being educated or secure? Even small unrecorded unrewarded actions & words count. Ever breath you take -- so much joy and possibility and power is yours.

Sian R.
Sian R3 years ago

Until I read the above I'd never heard of the LRA.
Amazing, isn't it, how extremist muslim groups make the news, but others are quietly ignored?
But I went and read up about the LRA and found the parallels. Significantly, both groups HATE- and try to destroy - education. For it's through education that we take control of our own lives. And extremist simply hate that.
When this is over, let's contribute to charities that provide teaching for villagers in the African nations - and so empower them to become full world citizens.

Janet B.
Janet B3 years ago


K Terri Morris
K Terri Morris3 years ago

Even the Taliban denounced the kidnapping. Who ever thought anyone would actually ever agree with the Taliban on anything? It took 3 weeks and the twitter feed (I guess I must review my opinion of twitter) to bring this to light in the world and prompt the Nigerian government to act. They were trying to hide it. In the videos, the leader is off-the-wall nuts. In one, he is just chanting "kill, kill, kill...". His group took little girls that knew they could be attacked just for going to school and they went anyway. I'd say he is acting like a little girl, but I don't want to insult his victims.

Barbara L.
Past Member 3 years ago

Women and girls deemed property - a societal attitude that must be eradicated along with the governments that refuse to protect the rights of all.

Boko Haram sounds like they are actually a criminal gang using religion as a cover....

And if you are expecting the UN to do anything -- don't hold your breath. The UN is as useless as you-know-what on a bull.

My heart breaks for these girls and their families. Their lives will never be the same.