05/12/2014 (press release: socialgem) // Veronica Sinclaire
Daughters kidnapped and sold into slavery for $12… It is every parent’s worst nightmare. If you are shell-shocked and a little numb at the continuing tragedy of kidnappings of hundreds of schoolgirls by Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram, you are not alone. It is an unspeakably horrific story.
The video of the kidnappers’ leader sneering and laughing is purely evil. “I abducted your girls; I will sell them in the market… for $12”… And you think, “What, really, can the world do?” We demand action, but our voices are tainted with resignation. 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. Yes, petitions do work. Change.org is the best choice https://www.change.org/petitions/all-world-leaders-bring-back-nigeria-s-200-missing-school-girls-bringbackourgirls
The White House.gov site has a We The People petition, “Bring Home Girls” addressed to the UN. https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/work-un-and-nigerian-government-bring-home-girls-kidnapped-boko-haram/fFcLj7s2
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 (http://plan-international.org/girls/), Girl Rising (girlrising.com), The Girl Effect (girleffect.org), Social Gem (socialgem.org) and other organizations working to improve girls’ lives. 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.
Social Gem runs a $1,000 Girl Challenge campaign. It’s free to join and you are given a link to Social Gem Fair Trade Shop www.socialgem.org. Share the link with your network and every time a purchase is made you earn points. At 1,000 points a girl whose parents can’t afford to send her to school is sponsored by Social Gem and you are free to use the $1,000 reward as you wish. But that’s not even the best part! The girl you help send to school is not anonymous. You will know her name and her family, you will get news of her progress, and you can even visit her if you wish. This is the thing that makes it real.
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
“The question of girls’ worth is not new”, says Veronica Sinclaire, CEO of Social Gem, “We face it every time a girl does not go to school, because her parents can’t afford to pay school fees. And school is not free in most developing countries.”
“Last week we were called to a poor village by a local teacher. She wanted us to visit a family needing help. We met the family, 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 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. Located in USA and Canada, a member of Fair Trade Federation and Green America. It is a brand of trendy, ethical, fair trade accessories and jewelry made by women artisans in Indonesia. Social Gem supports #BringBackOurGirls.
Social Media Tags:#BringBackOurGirls, #BringOurGirlsBack, Boko Haram, Nigeria, school girls
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