During this Women’s History Month, women around the world have cause to celebrate- more women are holding political, economic, and social power than ever before and many governments around the world are working towards improving women’s rights and opportunities. One group that serves as an inspiration, despite facing one of the harshest experiences in recent human history, is that of the Boko Haram girls.
Although it’s been almost five years since the girls’ capture (and subsequent escape of some of them), many of the young women are still making headlines- but this time, the news is positive.
At the small Dickinson College in Pennsylvania, four of the former Boko Haram girls have found a new home. Jacob Udo-Udo Jacob of Dickinson College reaches four of the girls in his college prep class, which consists of math, English, science, and social studies as well as critical and analytical thinking skills. The goal is to prepare the girls to obtain their high school diploma and hopefully eventually move onto college. While taking a college prep class may seem mundane to most Americans who probably took similar classes in high school, for these girls, it is not just a monumental achievement, but a symbolic act of defiance towards those who literally tried to forbid them from obtaining any sort of basic education. (“Boko Haram” literally means that Western education is forbidden.)
The program is run by Reginald Braggs, a former naval officer turned college administrator who runs the school and designed the educational program. In an interview with CBS, Braggs said, “this is about education for them, and knowing that they can do something. And it’s always better when you have someone who is confident and they’re doing something and the other students are observing them. If they can do it, you can do it.”
While the girls in Pennsylvania are thriving, many still remain in captivity and many more around the world are denied basic education. On this International Women’s Day, is the time that governments start taking action- for this generation and future generations of women.