I'm five days in to Operation 10 x 30, in which I have committed to finding 10 ways for 30 days to remember the 300 kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls. In my previous post, I listed 20 suggestions for people who want to join me in showing their support to #BringBackOurGirls.
I'm happy to say, so far I've fulfilled my promise. I've tweeted, blogged, emailed, photographed, talked and prayed at least 10 times a day. My vanilla candle is burning down to a stub for a good cause.
Things I've learned along the way…
- Nigeria is a complex society. There are no easy answers as this country tries to work out a delicate balancing act between vying internal and external pressures. Just to give you an idea, bear in mind that the country has three official languages with over 400 dialects. That alone complicates matters. Then there's the issue of competing religions…
- Nigeria is wealthy nation, rich in natural resources, human capacity (the most populous in Africa), and history. Unfortunately, the gnarly politics and systemic corruption are thwarting the country's potential.
- Many people within the country believe that access to education is a key for a progressive, prosperous Nigeria. In particular, they see mainstream education as one of the keys to breaking free from the grip of corruption. Many of these people advocate education for girls.
- Segments of the population see education as a threat and are seeking to stamp it out. “Western education” in particular is problematic. These tend to be the same people who feel education is not fitting for girls.
New Ways to Honour the Kidnapped Girls (including those who escaped) and Their Families
My original post offered 20 suggestions, of which I've repeated about 6 everyday. I've also tried to come up with 5 new ways to honour the girls, including:
- Change the signature on my emails from “Sent from my iPad” to “#BringBackOurGirls”
- Search out a Nigerian citizen and share my concern about the girls and their country. Let the person know I'm praying for peace and resolution and invite them to educate me.
- Share the fire for this cause with young Australian women. (Today, I talked to a group of year 10 girls. I invited a young, inspiring Nigerian man to give the girls first-hand insights. He was so gracious.)
- Locate a service that can pass on my messages and prayers to the families of the missing girls. This is something I've wanted to do since Mother's Day, and today a student told me about this one. This organisation is not known to me, so I'm posting this caveat: Please do your research to assure yourself that they are legit. I've posted a message with Open Doors, but if they prove to be at all dubious I will take down this link and post a message here why I've done so. I'm trusting they're fine, but I don't want to aid and abet any bogus organisations that profit from the suffering of others.)
- Find the names of the girls so I can do something creative and know something specific about them. I tracked down a list of first names of the girls, but due to safety concerns, I'm uncertain about sharing it. I'm sure you can find them too if it's something you want to do.
Please Join Me!