276 girl students were kidnapped in Nigeria on April 14th, eight more on May 6th.
Whether you are a mother or not, you cannot help but feel the deep pain of the mothers of the kidnapped girls. It is a parent’s worst nightmare come true.
If you are shell-shocked and a little numb at this continuing tragedy, you are not alone. It is an unspeakably horrific story.
We demand action, but our voices are tainted with resignation.. The reality is that in much of the world women and girls are not worth very much.
Yet there is much that we can do:
1 Speak your mind –
The worst case scenario is that the novelty will wear off and the whole thing will be forgotten. Ten years ago the story of thirty girls abducted by Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army endured rape and torture before being returned to their families was written by Susan Minot in her book “Thirty Girls”. The outrage against the kidnappers flares up in social media, but not for very long. It’s up to us to not let this be forgotten again.
2 Use social media.
Follow #BringBackOurGirls on Twitter and your local BringBackOurGirls group on Facebook - they are springing up everywhere. If there isn’t one in your city – create it.
3 Sign a petition.
4 Talk to your kids.
If they’re old enough to be on Facebook they will see the news and you won’t know the extent of what crosses their screen and how it might affect them. Better to explain to them in an age-appropriate language and share your feelings.
5 See the big picture.
The reality is, that in much of the world, women and girls are not worth very much. This is not an isolated incident, a freak tragedy. The lives of millions of women are undervalued, especially in the developing world. Follow Because I Am A Girl, Girl Rising, The Girl Effect, Social Gem and other organizations that work to improve girls’ lives on Twitter and Facebook. We’re all in this together, let’s stick together.
6 We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.- Dr. Loretta Scott
Vote with your choices. Buy fair trade – because it helps women and children who otherwise might end up working in dangerous conditions in sweatshops and dodgy factories. Support organizations that work to educate and empower girls. Many have excellent programs for volunteering, sponsoring children overseas, and even connecting personally with schoolgirls in developing countries.
They are not a faceless crowd, these are girls with names and real lives. The missing girls: Christy Yahi. Saratu Markus. Maryam Abbabukar. Blessing Abana. Comfort John. Halima Gambo. Talata Damian. Pindar Nuhu. Amina Ali. The list goes on and on.
Sarah Zabu Wala, 18, is one of the missing. She wants to be a doctor because of the poor maternal health care, says her family. Sarah has three other cousins who are also missing. Deboraoh Andrawus hoped to go into law. Rebecca Ibrahim, 17, wants to be a nurse, and 19-year-old Baby Dauda a teacher.
The Price Of A Girl
$12 is the price of a girl in Nigeria... according to the video posted online by Boko Haram, the terrorist organization that kidnapped the girls.
The question of the girls’ worth is not new. In Indonesia we face it every time a girl does not go to school, because her parents can’t afford to pay school fees for all or any of their children. And school is NOT FREE in many countries.
"Last week we were called to a poor village by a local teacher. She wanted us to visit a family needing help. When we met the family, we learned that there are 6 daughters and 1 son. The first daughter is already married, the second working after dropping out of school, the third living with relatives. With three young daughters at home and one boy, we were still really surprised to learn that the family was only interested in our help with the son’s education. The teacher explained that, in Indonesia, the girls leave home when they marry and the boys stay with the family and look after the aging parents. Of course, we know this is the way it works in many poor countries. But it was a fierce reminder of the realities of life here, and how large the mission to improve the lives of girls really is. It's obvious that these are very loving parents. It's just a different reality, and one we want to change. Education is for everyone.”
There is a Chinese curse that says, “May you live in interesting times”. We do. Our challenges are huge, we face setbacks and tragedies, but we are strong, we are creating solutions, not crying in our coffee.
We are mompreneurs and sociopreneurs, we are mothers and daughters, and we believe that while you cannot help everybody, everyone can help somebody. So that’s what we do, one girl at a time.
Social Gem is a 20 year old fair trade social business with a mission to educate girls in the developing world, a member of Fair Trade Federation and Green America. Our beautiful ethical, fair trade accessories and jewelry are 'human-made' by women artisans in Indonesia.