Disturbingly, we are now at the one year mark of the #BringBackOurGirls initiative. This time last year, Islamic militant fighters, Boko Haram, stormed a school in the village of Chibok, kidnapping 276 schoolgirls.
Whilst 50 of the girls have managed to escape, over 200 are still missing, a state of existence that Malala is quick to point out – does not mean they are forgotten.
In an open letter to the girls, Malala encapsulates global sentiments of frustration at the seemingly halted proceedings, regarding the safety of the girls who remain in captivity.
“I am one of the millions of people around the world who keep you and your families foremost in our thoughts and prayers. We cannot imagine the full extent of the horrors you have endured. But please know this: We will never forget you. We will always stand with you. Today and every day, we call on the Nigerian authorities and the international community to do more to bring you home. We will not rest until you have been reunited with your families.”
The letter comes just days after Amnesty International released a report on the situation in Nigeria, estimating that the militant group – Boko Haram, has kidnapped more than 2,000 women and girls since the beginning of 2014. This horrific statistic also pointed to the fact that most of these women have been forced into sexual slavery and trained to fight in the terror group’s army. Amnesty International has also surmised that the militant organisation has been responsible for the deaths of over 5,500 people, at least.
The letter also acts as a plea to the global community to continue placing pressure on the Nigerian and international governments to continue the resistance against this terror group, as well as do more to secure the freedom of all those kidnapped.
“Nigerian leaders and the international community have not done enough to help you. They must do much more to help secure your release. I am among many people pressuring them to make sure you are freed,” Malala wrote.
Malala’s letter is also a call to arms, following the harrowing statement from Nigeria’s President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, voicing that he was unsure if it would be possible to find the remaining girls.
In a moving show of support and solidarity, Malala writes; “I look forward to the day I can hug each one of you, pray with you, and celebrate your freedom with your families. Until then, stay strong, and never lose hope. You are my heroes.”