On April 14th, 2014, 276 Chibok schoolgirls were kidnapped by terrorist group Boko Haram. In Nigeria, to be a girl and go to school is a rarity, so missing 276 of their schoolgirls is an enormous fraction of their educated girls. Around 50 of the girls managed to escape, and 21 were released in October by Boko Haram in a deal made with the Nigerian government.
On May 6th, 2017 82 more of the kidnapped school girls were released, over 3 years after they were taken. The Nigerian government handed over 5 Boko Haram leaders, in exchange for the freeing of the girls. The deal was negotiated by a Boko Haram lawyer, Mustapha Zanna. The pressure on the Nigerian Government was huge, a result of the strong campaign using hashtag, #bringbackourgirls.
On Facebook, the Bring Back Our Girls page has over 235,000 likes, and the Instagram page has 29,000. Countless celebrities got involved and posted about the crisis such as Cara Delevingne, Justin Timberlake, Michelle Obama, to name a few. But after the first few weeks of the news erupting that the girls had been kidnapped, people began to forget about it. Celebrities stopped posting, and the instagram page that once had 60,000 followers decreased to 30,000.
As soon as the media stopped covering it, so did most of the public. Yet still there were people who didn’t give up. Who kept posting, kept writing letters to their governors, senators, any form of government they could write to, they did. It is because of those people, and their refusal to lose hope that we now get to say that 82 of the Chibok school girls have been returned home safely. There is still much work to be done as approximately 115 of the 276 girls are still held captive, and we must continue spreading the word, and using our voices to demand the return of every single one of the kidnapped girls.
Write your state/country representatives and keep fighting for the lives of these 115 girls, because if you don’t, who will? The release of the 82 girls is a huge victory, and a big milestone, but it is not over yet.