In the early hours of April 15, 2014, Boko Haram militants crept into the dormitory of Chibok, a girls’ school in Borno State, Nigeria. They forced almost 300 schoolgirls into their trucks and took off for their hideout deep in the forest, burning buildings as they fled.
The girls were targeted simply because they were brave enough to seek education in a world where not everyone believes women deserve to go to school. For that “crime,” they paid dearly.
As the news spread, the world exploded in fury — but nothing really changed. Although some escaped on their own, most of the girls are still missing, despite the #BringBackOurGirls movement and a massive international search effort.
As Nick Kristof of The New York Times wrote: “All of us can respond more directly. Boko Haram… is keeping women and girls marginalized; conversely, we can help educate and empower women. Ultimately, the greatest threat to extremism isn’t a drone overhead but a girl with a book.”
“Let’s respond by investing in girls’ education,” he goes on to say.
Well, Nick — we’re taking you up on that challenge.
RYOT’s teaming up with John Legend and Burkle Global Initiative to bring together the best women’s and girls’ rights organizations in the ultimate CrowdRise fundraising campaign. It’s called #OperationGirl, and it’s gonna change everything.
From July 9th through August 18th, these nonprofits will compete to raise the most money to empower women and girls. Not only will the teams get to keep the funds they raise, but they’ll also be eligible to win big donations — we’ll give out $100,000 total in Grand Prizes and weekly Bonus Challenges throughout the campaign.
According to the UN, up to 50 percent of sexual assaults worldwide happen to girls under the age of 18. An estimated 80 percent of victims of international human trafficking are female. And, in the US alone, 83 percent of girls aged 12 to 16 report having experienced some kind of sexual harassment in public schools.
By supporting women instead of just bemoaning their fates, we can turn the tables on violence, hatred and fear. By giving girls the tools to not just succeed but excel, we’ll build a generation of capable leaders, fearsome activists, and daunting, beloved politicians — the people we need to save the world.
RYOT needs YOU to join us in making the most important difference of all with #OperationGirl. Click here to check out the CrowdRise page and help change things for girls all over the world.
Or are you part of a great nonprofit that protects and serves women and girls? Do you know of one? We’re definitely still accepting participants, so click here to apply!