May 7, 2014— -- People around the world have Tweeted more than a million times the phrase #BringBackOurGirls, the hashtag for the campaign to rescue the nearly 300 Nigerian high school girls who remain missing after being kidnapped by extremists last month.
The global outrage at the kidnapping has shown a widespread interest by regular people looking to help the girls, or help prevent another tragedy.
Malala Yousafzai launched a fund today to support Nigerian organizations that educate and support girls.
The Malala Fund will donate 100 percent of funds raised to local Nigerian nonprofit groups focused on education and advocacy for girls and women.
Click here for more information.
"The campaign has helped to galvanize action within the country and has raised tremendous international media attention," the Human Rights Watch said in an email to ABC News today. The hashtag #BringBackOurGirls has "fast became the symbol of the people’s anger and frustration for the perceived ineffectual handling of the situation by the government."
"Our immediate concern is getting the abducted girls home safely as soon as possible, and caring for them in the aftermath of this trauma," Caryl Stern, president and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, said in an email to ABC News. "Foremost, we ask that people join with us in that goal. However, we also need the public to channel its outrage into preventing future abuse."
UNICEF is encouraging people to continue using the hashtag in order to gain more media and government attention on the present kidnapping, and then to get involved in their End Trafficking project to help put a stop to human trafficking.
Zama Coursen-Neff, director of the Children’s Rights Division of Human Rights Watch, had suggestions for individuals looking to actively help.
- 1. Support groups that promote girls' education and civilian protection.
- 2. Press your government to sustain pressure on the Nigerian government to search for the girls and improve protection for schools.
- 3. Press your government to insist on and respect adherence to human rights standards. One way students and teachers can help is through the campaign to End Military Use of Schools. This website, run by students, allows students and teacher to participate in the campaign to make schools off limits to warring parties.
- 4. And, of course, getting informed is important. The Global Coalition has documented a pattern of attacks on schools, teachers and students in 30 countries in the last five years -- a video on this is here: Education Under Attack 2014. And for an interactive map click here.
The Human Rights Watch has even more tips for getting involved here.