It all began with a Facebook status. A friend had posted an update, asking why no one was reporting on the news that over 200 Nigerian schoolgirls had gone missing for nearly a fortnight. I decided to look into it myself and it was true – although there were vague reports of a terrorist group called Boko Haram abducting 276 schoolgirls from a remote Nigerian village, it seemed like the world was just carrying on with its business. No outcry. No questions. No headline news coverage or concern.
I responded with my own status update to express how annoyed I was to hear of another news story involving women being mistreated, undermined, devalued. An acquaintance then messaged me and my friend Chrissa, encouraging us to do something about the situation. He suggested a petition. Chrissa opted for a protest and surprisingly, I agreed. So in just 48 hours, we organised a peaceful protest outside the Nigerian High Commission on Sunday, 6 May. The aim was to support the growing social media campaign #bringbackourgirls, to highlight the plight of women as victims in conflicts and wars and to drive home the message that women have a right to an education.
The protest was a hit. Not only did over 150 turn up, but it was covered on CNN, Al Jazeera, BBC Worldwide, the Guardian and we even got a call from BBC Breakfast. We’re now hearing of similar protests being organised around the country and the world, and as a result, the situation is getting more media attention than ever before.
I’m just grateful to God for giving me the courage to do something about an issue that’s close to my heart, which is the treatment and value of women in society. This has come at a time when we’re learning at ChristChurch about The Art of Neighbouring and that if we’re going to be compassionate like the Good Samaritan and Christ, we have to be prepared for action – so this has been a really good test for me in my Christian walk. It has also helped me appreciate that being a neighbour goes beyond my local community and that love can be shown towards my brothers and sisters around the world. In this case, we don’t have to be Nigerian to care; we’re all global citizens.
Although the girls are yet to be released, I’m continuing to pray for them, while encouraging as many people as possible to show their support for the #bringbackourgirls campaign in whatever way they can – through prayer, signing the various petitions, attending an event or sending a tweet of encouragement. My friend says that it takes many drops to fill an ocean and I believe she’s right – our small acts will hopefully make a massive difference.