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276 girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram. A year later, where are they now?

They were about to take an exam. That night turned into the biggest test of their lives.

A year ago, they were ordinary students preparing for their final exams.

Then men from Boko Haram broke into their school and took them captive. They set the school on fire and shoved the girls into trucks and cars.

They were terrified. They didn't know what to do.


It's impossible not to wonder:

What would I do?

Some of them — a tiny number of the 276 who were captured — escaped that night.

They ran, for days, without shoes. They just wanted to get home.

Even when they reached their homes and families, they were haunted by the memory of what had happened to them, and by worry for their classmates.

And those other girls... It's been a year now. What happened to them?

Many are still in captivity. Fifty-seven have escaped. Over 200 are still missing.

Women who escaped report forced marriages and sexual violence. Some of them are forced to work for the terrorists. From time to time, one of them finds an opportunity to escape, but the majority of them are essentially enslaved.

People in Nigeria are legitimately pissed off about the government's failure to rescue the girls. And they definitely blame the government for inaction. Over the winter, voters ousted President Goodluck Jonathan in part because of his inaction. It was the first time in Nigeria's history that an incumbent lost to a newcomer.

In frustration with their own government, the families have appealed to the United Nations for help. Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai is also calling on the international community to come to their aid. Writing on her blog, she astutely points out: "If these girls were the children of politically or financially powerful parents, much more would be done to free them. But they come from an impoverished area of northeast Nigeria and sadly little has changed since they were kidnapped."

Communities all over the world are planning the Global School Girl March on April 14, 2015, to raise awareness and bring international attention back to the missing girls — and the many who have been captured since.

To find an event near you, check out their Facebook page.

If there's no event near you, you still can help by writing to your elected officials and your country's embassy in Nigeria, and by sharing articles that remind people that this situation is not resolved. Together, surely, we can move the international community to take more action than a hashtag.

To hear about their escapes in their own words, check out this video with amazing animation.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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