The public outrage at the kidnapping of over 200 schoolgirls in the Chibok region of Borno State, Nigeria on the 14th of April 2014 has been late in coming, but universal.
The campaign to bring this atrocity to the attention of the public outside Nigeria started on Twitter. The hash tag #BringBackOurGirls, created by Nigerian activist Oby Ezekwesili (@obyezeks ) caught on rapidly and was soon trending.
Since then, we — activists, individuals, groups and event organizers from many different countries and background — have been using #BringBackOurGirls as our rallying cry on social networks.
We have repeatedly been asked by generous supporters where they could donate. Many even offered to donate directly to us. However, for the reasons explained below, we categorically refuse to accept any donations.
First, we do not believe that donations will actually help save the school girls. What is needed is another kind of activism.
The #BringBackOurGirls movement has transcended any known boundaries: people of all creeds, of all social statuses, of all races, speaking any kind of language have rallied to our cause. It is shared by the whole of our humanity. Given the diversity and universality of our movement, there is no way that we could recommend any specific charities to donate to.
At the same time, we fully recognise that this terrible crime has a context and root causes. Those underlying issues must be addressed over the long term if we do not want the same situation from arising again. But again, not everybody might agree on what the those root causes might be. Individually, we have the right — and the duty — to denounce the seeds of evil and work on destroying them before they sprout again. However, as a whole, the #BringBackOurGirls movement cannot be a substitute for each individual's conscience.
If you feel inclined to donate, we encourage you to do so — not to rescue the schoolgirls, as it will have no impact on the ongoing multi-government rescue effort — but to solve underlying issues. Donate to whichever charity you believe is best positioned to make a long term difference in Northern Nigeria as well as in other parts of the world where similar events might occur.
Donate only to trusted, long-standing charitable organizations. They already do many good deeds around the world and they always need our support, including financial support.
Finally, we would would like to warn supporters about donations scams and fake web sites using our #BringBackOurGirls slogan as a lure to con people. No web site, organization nor any individual should under any circumstances solicit any funds in the name of the #BringBackOurGirls movement. Stay away from any web site site, organization or individual who does.
Our cause is Just.
Our cause is Pure.
Our cause is Universal.
Our movement is United.
And it all shall remain so.