Normally, as Mother’s Day approaches, I get a little (ok, maybe a lot) sentimental. I think about my children and how very much I love them. I remember what it was like when they were little; the silly moments, the giggles, and the feel of small arms squeezing my neck until I couldn’t breathe. I think about their school years and the endless ball games and music lessons, the chaos and homework and laughter.
I realize again, that though they are grown, the quote from the book, Love You Forever, stays constant: “As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.”
Without thought or hesitation, I would give everything I have to keep them safe.
That’s when my heart breaks and I get all choked up. Because close to 300 mothers in Nigeria know that their girls are not safe. According to news reports, they were kidnapped from their boarding school on April 14 by an Islamic militant group called, Boko Haram, meaning “Western education is sinful.” The group’s leader posted a video saying the girls should be married, not in school, and they will be sold for the equivalent of $12.
The school was one of 85 in the area that had been closed since March due to threats from Boko Haram, but the girls had returned to take their final exams. That’s how important education is to them and to their families. They live in a region where only 4% of girls complete their secondary education. Only 4%. They risked everything for something we take for granted.
I was outraged when I heard the news, especially since it happened several weeks ago. Where were the news reports? The outrage? It has been slow to come, but thankfully, it is coming now.
As I pace and rage and shake my fist, I start to wonder: What can I do? I’m one small-town mom half a world away. How can I possibly make a difference in this situation?
If you’re wondering the same thing, here are a few ideas:
Spread the Word – Use the hashtag: #bringbackourgirls on Twitter and Facebook. Post, tweet, talk about it.
Stay informed – Besides news outlets, the group Girl Rising is posting regular updates on the situation at: http://girlrising.com/nigeria-action/
Support Education – There are many fabulous organizations working tirelessly to support education around the world. Here are two that I am involved with and support:
The Blessing Basket/Seeds of Blessing – Through the sale of beautiful handmade baskets, Seeds of Blessing helps women in Africa and Asia educate their children by breaking the cycle of poverty.
Lift-the-Lid.org – Supports schools in Africa and the Philippines by providing much-needed supplies and encouraging children to express their creativity. Doing so inspires hope, which helps children stay in school.
Pray – For safety for the kidnapped girls, for comfort for their parents, for decisive action by the Nigerian government and for a swift, safe resolution to their situation. Pray for peace.
This Mother’s Day, let’s whisper an extra, “I love you” to our children and do what we can for those Nigerian mothers whose arms are empty and aching right now. Let’s help #BringBackOurGirls.
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke