Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz help to spread #BringBackOurGirls message

A World at School, Celebrities, Chibok girls

One hundred days after the Chibok girls were captured there was little press or concern. My co-workers at A World at School and many of our Global Youth Ambassadors met outside of the Nigerian consulate to protest the world’s lack of response and accountability.

We planned to hold a vigil in honour of the girls and others around the world in harm’s way just because they want to go to school.

As only 15 to 20 of us gathered initially we were told to leave the property and assemble across the street. We met up with several others who were there to mark the 100 days but it went largely unnoticed. From there we marched to the UN Secretariat Building and lit candles in honour of the girls. Each passer-by stopped and we’d explain why we were there but few seemed to care.

Yesterday I expected the same. More time has passed and, as time goes on, outrage for these types of things seems to dwindle rather than grow. In a time with so many unfolding tragedies, people’s attention is being pulled in every direction.

But I’m happy to say that this was different. Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz joined the cause and because of that I was hoping for large numbers. There were still only 20 to 30 of us but it got coverage from the Associated Press several education NGOs and hundreds, if not thousands, of the couple's followers retweeted and re-grammed their posts.



#WeAreHere to #BringBackOurGirls! We're standing up with Alicia Keys & @girlrisingofficial

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Between the two of them, they reach tens of millions of people all around the world, showing that they still care about these girls.

But what are the next steps? Will these small but passionate protests bring about any change? Our message has been amplified but we cannot stop there. The world needs to be reminded that we will not forget the 219 girls still being held. We will not forget all of the girls who need support now and in the future.

The situation in Nigeria is symbolic of countless others all around the world. And it’s not just because of terrorist organisations like Boko Haram. Schools in many countries are underfunded, overcrowded and staffed with ill-equipped teachers expected to teach children without books and school supplies.

Until world leaders fulfil their promises to make education a priority, this will continue to be the case.

Children in conflicts and emergencies is one of the 100-day themes of the #EducationCountdown. You can read more about the campaign here.

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