There have been some trenchant critiques of this social media campaign — hat-tip to the great Mushim Patricia Ikeda for pointing that piece out — but, given that it was, in fact, begun by a Nigerian activist (and not well-meaning-but-possibly-misguided Westerners), I’d like to show support by participating. In addition, as Nick Kristof pointed out today, “Ultimately, the greatest threat to extremism isn’t a drone overhead but a girl with a book.” He continues — and you’ll want to read this with Mother’s Day coming up:
…Here’s a challenge.
Mother’s Day is this Sunday, and, by all means, let’s use it to celebrate the moms in our lives with flowers and brunches. But let’s also use the occasion to honor the girls still missing in Nigeria.
One way is a donation to support girls going to school around Africa through the Campaign for Female Education, Camfed.org; a $40 gift pays for a girl’s school uniform.
Another way to empower women is to support Edna Adan, an extraordinary Somali woman who has started her own maternity hospital, midwife training program and private university, saving lives, providing family planning and fighting female genital mutilation. At EdnaHospital.org, a $50 donation pays for a safe hospital delivery.
Or there’s the Mothers’ Day Movement, mothersdaymovement.org, which is supporting a clean water initiative in Uganda. With access to water, some girls will no longer have to drop out of school to haul water.
We inevitably feel helpless when terrible things happen, but these are practical steps to fight a blow against extremism while honoring some of those brave Nigerian girls who are missing – like Deborah, Naomi, Hauwa, Pindar, Mary, Monica, Grace, Esther, Aisha, Ruth, Saraya, Blessing, Gloria, Christy, Tabitha, Helen, Amina, Hasana and Rhoda. We may not be able to rescue them, but we can back them up.