Against all odds, girls learn again
Since the beginning of the Boko Haram insurgency in 2009, over 1.8 million people have been displaced from their homes across northeast Nigeria, including 1 million children.
Children have been targeted and girls abused, exploited and raped. Many have lost their homes, family members, friends, safety and routine.
“I had to leave my home and my family because of Boko Haram,” says Monica Augusta, one of the girls living in a camp for displaced.
“Boko Haram came to our house and tried to find my father. They wanted to kill me,” explains 15 year-old Saraya Silvanos. “I ran and walked all the way to Minawao by myself. I was crying and so scared.”
“Our village was attacked and they were killing people,” says Fatima Ali who was also forced to leave her home. She has been living in a camp for two years now.
Fatima goes to school at the camp. “I like the feeling of unity going to a classroom brings. School helps us to think about our future,” she says.
Education is a lifeline for many girls, like Monica, Saraya and Fatima. Going to school brings stability and helps them cope with the trauma they have experienced. It can also protect children from abuse, exploitation and recruitment into armed groups.
UNICEF together with partners have this year alone enrolled nearly 750,000 children in school in the three most-affected states of northeast Nigeria. More funding is urgently needed to give more children an opportunity to go back to school and get an education.