Even as I write this, there is a painful lump in my chest. It has been two years that our #ChibokGirls have been in captivity. I just imagine that the #ChibokParents die a thousand deaths every day thinking of the atrocities being met upon their daughters. Daughters they sent to school to get an education so that they can better their lives.
For two years now the Chibok parents have had to second guess their decision to send their children to school. A story of one of the Chibok mothers broke my heart. She managed to send her daughter to school after she lost her husband, and now she feels she was selfish for wanting her daughter to be educated and be able to help her one day.
What has happened to the Chibok Girls is heartbreaking, and too painful for words. Nothing makes sense to me anymore.
I have put off writing this. It is difficult to acknowledge and accept the fact that our Chibok Girls have spent two years in captivity. With a bleeding heart, I am forced to accept the reality on ground. Our Chibok Girls have been in captivity for 731 days – exactly 2 years, today.
Where is the outrage the world showed two years ago when 276 schoolgirls were abducted from their school where they were writing their final exam? Where is the outrage the world showed when 57 girls had to use various dangerous means to escape? Where is the outrage the world showed when we heard that 219 Chibok Girls were in captivity? Unfortunately, they are still in captivity, exactly two years today.
How can the world move on? The Chibok Girls have not been able to move on from the nightmare – not for a moment. They have feared for their lives every second, every minute, every hour, every day for two years.
Where are all the world leaders that promised to help rescue the Chibok Girls? Where are the celebrities that held the sign that said #BringBackOurGirls? The 219 Chibok Girls have not been rescued. Not a single one has been brought back home. Why the silence?
How can we tell the girl child to dare to dream? To aspire? To get an education? How can we tell her this when 219 of her sisters that went to school have been in captivity for two years? What moral justification do we have to ask a child to go to school?
By failing Chibok Girls, we have failed our own children, wherever they are. They wonder in their minds if they would also be silent if they were the ones taken.
We have continuously asked what is the crime of the Chibok Girl? Is it because she is poor? Is it because she dared to get an education? Or is it because she is a Nigerian? Would there have been more outrage and sustained effort to ensure she is rescued if she was from another part of the world?
I think of the Chibok Girls all the time. The horrific tales from those who have escaped or have been rescued have not been palatable. What has become of the girls who one day were laughing and being just girls and the next day were forced into a nightmarish world of being women forced to leave their homes and all that they hold dear?
Do the Chibok Girls even realise that they have spent two years in captivity? Do the Chibok Girls still hope that they will be rescued or will find their way home? Do the terrorists mock our girls, telling them that nobody will come for them? How do our girls cope with the fact that nobody has rescued them? Do our girls still hold onto hope? Indeed #HopeEndures but for how long can a child hold onto hope when they are being brutalised each day?
If your daughter was one of the Chibok Girls, what would you do? Have you done the same for the Chibok Girls? A terrorist attack against one is a terrorist attack against all. As long as one is attacked, we all are attacked. We have to fight for each other. When we do nothing, we simply embolden the enemy to keep attacking us. When it happens to another and we stand up for them, the enemy backs off.
It has been 731 days since the Chibok Girls have been abducted, and it has been 716 days that citizens have been demanding their rescue. We have made a vow that we will not stop – not until our girls are back and alive, and #NotWithoutOurDaughters.
We might not have carried the Chibok Girls in our womb, but they are our daughters. We will continue to make demands for their rescue until each and every one is accounted for.
Whatever anyone may think, standing for Chibok Girls is not doing them a favour. It is simply doing the right thing. Rescue for the Chibok Girls is not a privilege, but their right, per the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
World leaders must look at the Chibok Girls as their own. They must adopt them and fight for them as if they were theirs. The Chibok Girls are no longer children of the people from Chibok, neither are they just Nigerian daughters. The Chibok Girls are children of the world, and, therefore, the world must rally together and rescue its daughters from these monsters. These are beings who want to put a blight on humanity. We will hold on to hope knowing that the power of love will always defeat the hatred in them.
We will not allow a group of terrorists to define humanity for us.
The fight for the Chibok Girls is the fight for the soul of humanity. As long as 219 Chibok Girls are in captivity, humanity is in captivity.
This is an original post written for World Moms Blog by Aisha Yesufu in Nigeria.
Hmmmmm…today is Christmas, as I write this, and for many all over the world it’s time for félicitation, a time for merriment and sharing. But for our Chibok girls and their families, it’s time to wail and cry silently, while putting up a brave face for the whole world.
Freedom of worship is what a lot of us take for granted. A confirmed right, but for our #ChibokGirls, alas, it is not so. Most of them we heard have been converted to Islam. Islam doesn’t need forced converts. There is no compulsion in religion says God in Qur’an Chapter 2 verse 256.
Why, then, would someone take girls, who, even in the rules of war islamically, are never to be attacked? And forcefully convert them to Islam?
World Mom, Aisha Yesufu, speaks as activists gather in Abuja continuing to demand the rescue of the 219 Chibok Girls captured in April 2013 in Nigeria.
While others enjoy Christmas, our Chibok girls are weeping silently in their hearts. They probably do not even know that today is Christmas. That would be the worst.
For 620 days our Chibok girls have been in captivity. Mocked by their captors that no one would come, and, indeed, no one did.
Our Chibok girls have had to spend another Christmas in captivity, while the world moved on and forgets that 620 days ago the lives of 219 Chibok girls were frozen in a nightmare they never envisioned. They were captured by Boko Haram when they set out to get an education. Young, educated girls, whose empowered voice the terrorists found threatening.
For daring to have a mind of their own by getting an education, they have been put in bondage for 620 days.
How are Chibok parents faring during this day of festivities knowing that their precious daughters are with monsters who have no drop of humanity in them?
How do they cope thinking of all the atrocities their daughters have had to endure this past 620 days? Ahhhhh…they must die a thousand deaths everyday imagining what their daughters have had to go through.
While many in the world are waking up today after celebrating Christmas with their family and friends, please remember the 219 #ChibokGirls who spent their second Christmas away from their loved ones and in captivity.
Please remember #ChibokParents who have had to celebrate a second Christmas without their daughters and struggle to put on a brave face for the other children. All so that the terrorists would not steal the joy of the season from their children the way in which they stole their daughters.
#BringBackOurGirls NOW & ALIVE
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by World Mom, Aisha Yesufu in Nigeria.
My husband came into the room while I was still sleeping on the morning of the attack and told me of a deadly attack in Paris. In my half state of sleep I blocked the news out. I didn’t want to take in another pain. My body wasn’t ready to grieve.
I slept on hoping I would wake up, and it would all have been a mistake or a dream. I woke up and refused to watch the news or go onto social media. I didn’t want what I thought I heard my husband say to be true. I lived in cowardly denial.
I finally put on my phone which I had switched off, and I then had a call from a friend. They said, “Yes, there has been an attack. And, yes, many died!” “Oh God!”, I cried out.
“Has anyone claimed responsibility?”, I asked fearfully. “ISIS.”, my friend told me. “Not again,” I groaned.
To lose a loved one so brutally is horror. To know that somebody somewhere decided to kill your loved one who never offended them and whom they probably had never even seen is painful. An accident, I can understand, but that I can never.
In a month’s time my daughter will be going to France for a ski trip. Will she be looked at differently because of her hijab? My thoughts are that someone in Paris may look at my daughter in her hijab differently from the rest when she is as much victim.
When an attack happens in places like Paris it’s not that their lives are more important, but that the outcry is high even from other countries that have their fair share of terrorism. It’s fear! With all the security in such places? How can this occur?
If these tragic events can happen in places like Paris with their state of the art, high level security then they can wipe us out, here, in Nigeria with our best security. This is what goes through our minds.
It can embolden some to attack with all the copycat crimes going on. We have had so many attacks in recent times. It leaves a palpable fear in the air.
I then saw outrage on social media of people who felt that too much emphasis was placed by the world on the French lives rather than on all lives. I couldn’t find it in me to be outraged. The French cried out to the world and the world joined them in their moment of grief.
When we are attacked in Nigeria a lot of us within Nigeria seem to not care. Even our government. So how would the world cry with us when we have refused to cry for each other?
An attack happened a while ago in which over a 100 were killed it took more than 3 days before there was an official statement from the President condemning the attack. There was outrage from a few of us, and we were attacked by so many for demanding the government acknowledge an attack and death of Nigerians.
With such callousness from our own, how would the world acknowledge our grief?
When the world gets no official statement from Nigerian government, how can they grieve with us when we haven’t even acknowledged that ours were killed?
I am a pragmatic person and would always tell myself the truth no matter how it hurts. I cannot begrudge the French and the world supporting them when we haven’t supported our own. Until we take our lives seriously no one else will, and it would always be painful when my government within hours would commiserate with other countries when they are attacked and refused to acknowledge attack in our own country until days later.
I have been shown I matter by individuals reaching out to me when there is attack from different parts of the world, especially the World Moms Blog family. You would not understand how touching those moments are. It shows I am a member of the human race.
My daughter asked me just yesterday if she would still be going to Paris next month. I told her, “YES!!!” No one will make us live in fear.
Do they have heart? Do they know what it is to lose a loved one? Why do they inflict such on others? What is Islamic about terror? NOTHING!!!
Islam preaches peace. Islam enjoins a right of environment & animals on us. One is not allowed in Islam to cut down a tree.
God said in the Qur’an to kill one human is like killing humanity. We have to unite and let the goodness in us all outshine the few evil ones. Terrorist attack to anyone anywhere in the world is terrorist attack to everyone everywhere in the world.
God rest the souls of the dead and console the families of the departed all over the world. It’s not easy.
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by contributor Aisha Yesufu of Nigeria.
This past Sunday, we celebrated International Day of The Girl on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter by sharing photos of our contributors’ daughters and what they dream of being when they grow up. (See their pictures at the end of this post!) So for our World Voice column today, we found it fitting to share a story of an amazing girl who defied the odds and later became one of our World Moms Blog contributors…read on!
There was once a little girl who grew up in a slum. This little girl would go to school in the morning without breakfast and would come back from school not expecting lunch. By the age of 11 she had no friends because they had all been married off. This little girl grew up in an area where education was not seen as important. At 14 she was mocked for being old maid not married.
This little girl wanted one thing in life, TO BE EDUCATED!
She had seen that those with education rode cars and lived in big houses. This little girl used to read so much and wanted the life she read of in books. She wanted to travel the world. She wanted to do many things. She did not allow her present circumstances determine her life. In other words she dared to dream.
Her parents couldn’t understand her big dreams. She was told she wouldn’t succeed much in life because she was not hardworking. She wasn’t much good at cooking, washing, sweeping and she always questioned everything. Who would marry you? No man would marry you if you cannot do domestic chores. She was always told, and she would always reply there are machines to do all that. This little girl read and read, and read.
Today she is living her dream because she dared to dream. You, too, can dare to dream. Do not allow someone’s else’s opinion of you become your reality. Allow yourself the opportunity to be the best that you can be. Give yourself a chance to excel, and the question I ask is WHY NOT YOU?
That little girl is all grown up and writing this article. I AM THE LITTLE GIRL THAT DARED TO DREAM.
If I could dream those dreams so many years ago why can’t you? I never thought of being a girl as a burden, and I still don’t. And no matter what anyone said, I knew I was born to shine in this world, and it was my duty to fulfil that destiny.
As a young girl you have all that it takes to be the greatest, and I wished someone had told me that years ago. I would have wished for so much, and dared for so much.
The greatest disservice you can do to yourself is selling yourself short of your potentials. Never, ever do that. Go for what you desire, and anyone that says you can’t, take great pleasure in proving them wrong. You are strong, bold, and the best. Accept yourself for who you are and never give anyone the power to hurt you.
No one can hurt you without your permission, and no one can make you feel less without your permission.
Be a voice for the voiceless girl. Be a name for the nameless girl, and be the face of the faceless girl. At the end of the day we have to stand for each other and by each other. It’s #GirlPower, and we dare to dream.
This is an original post written by Aisha Yesufu of Nigeria for World Moms Blog.
Photo credit to Jennifer Burden.
Here are some of the daughters of our #WorldMoms who shared their dreams for #DayofTheGirl
World Mom, Aisha Yesufu in Nigeria, has an incredible amount of drive. From humble beginnings, she worked hard at her education and it became her family’s ticket to a better life. We’ve had the chance to join her virtually on World Moms Blog’s panel at the World Bank on the right to a universal education in April, and she is truly, an inspiration.
Just in time for International Day of the Girl on Sunday, get ready, women and girls everywhere, to reach your goals and make things happen!…
If you want to reach your goals, start a business, or start doing anything else for that matter, it has to start in your mind. You have to believe in yourself. You have to believe that you can do it, and this is where most times we have a problem. We start something without actually believing that we can do it. Sometimes we just start certain things without truly believing in ourselves.
We are either pressured into doing it, or doing it because others are doing it; and its expected of us. We start never truly believing in ourselves. You just go ahead to start something, and even you, yourself, are not sure you can do it. You don’t believe you can do it and along the way things begin to fall apart and you begin to blame external forces.
There are no external forces affecting us. The problem is our mindset. What is your mindset when you are about to start? That is something that we can change.
Other times we never start something because in our minds we do not think we are worthy of it or capable of it.
You have to realise your mind does not know the difference between reality and what is not real. Let me give an example. You are just sitting down having a nice time and all of a sudden you hear bad news. You know what happens when we hear bad news? Everything changes, and we begin to cry or scream or feel sad. Your whole body, your whole mind, everything changes. What happened? It’s only that the news got to you!
You don’t even know if what you just learned is true or not. Have you confirmed the bad news? Fact checked it yet? No! You just heard the news and that’s it. That’s the mind. It does not ask for confirmation whether the news is true or not, it goes into the mode it’s fed. That means your mind does not know the difference between truth and a lie. It is reactionary.
If you have continously been told you would amount to nothing all your life and you feed your mind that same notion, well, then, guess what? You may think this is true about yourself! You have to free yourself from the shackles of mental bondage.
You can always trick your mind. For example, you can tell your mind you are the greatest business person in the world. In fact you are at par with Dangote, a billionaire and businessman in my home country of Nigeria. Your mind doesn’t know whether it’s the truth, or not. It’s going to accept it, but the thing you need to do now is to begin to do what smart business people do. I listened to Dangote once on a live interview on TV sometime in 2001 or 2002, and he said he goes to work around 9am and doesn’t close before 9pm.
For me that was a wake up call. I had one of my “Aha!” moments then. When I first saw him I thought, “If only God will bless me the way he has blessed this man.” And when I heard he works 12 hours a day, for me, that was a wake up call.
If you trick your mind into thinking that you are among the ranks of the leaders, and you begin to work as they do, you may begin to set bigger goals for yourself. You can run with the best of them, but you have to BELIEVE it.
When you are trying something new with the mindset of negativity, it could impede your progress. At that point, you may not want to even bother starting. It failed before it took off because it failed in your mind, if you did not have the right mindset. But I believe this thinking can be changed.
World Mom, Aisha Yesufu, speaks out in Abuja on August 17, 2015 against anti-corruption in Nigeria.
Business and goal setting starts in your mind and you need a lot of patience. Business needs patience, patience and more patience. There is nothing like overnight success.
It’s a whole lot of hard work starting something new and having the right mindset. Persevering, focusing on what you are doing. Setting goals and moving on. This does not come easy, but I believe if you keep going that is what leads to that “overnight ” success that a lot of people see. Our mindset is very important and often times when you talk to people the mindset is just not positive. We are looking at our past and looking at who we were and not who we could be.
Where I grew up, we didn’t have anybody. We were born into less privileged homes. It didn’t matter. Whether you are a billionaire; the child of a billionaire; the child of struggling parents making ends meet or from a rich neighbourhood or the slums; it doesn’t really matter. It’s your mindset that matters and determines who you are at the end of the day.
If you don’t believe you are a star you can never be a star. If you don’t believe you are a success you can never be a success.
You can never be greater than your mind.
You have to set your mind higher. Give it goals. Give it targets. Give your mind something to work on. Trick yourself into thinking positively. It doesn’t know the difference between truth and a lie. Tell your mind a good lie. “You are a big time business person.” “You are a billionaire.” “You are on Forbes list.” Let your unconscious mind even when you are sleeping work on that.
Our mindset is of such utmost importance and most often we neglect it. We don’t work on it. There is a need for us to work on our mindset to project ourself mentally where we want to be before we begin to work on that.
Some use Affirmation like repeating to yourself…
I AM THE GREATEST BUSINESS PERSON. I AM THE GREATEST TEACHER. I AM THE GREATEST ASTRONAUT. I AM THE GREATEST CHEF. I AM THE GREATEST POLITICAL LEADER. I AM THE GREATEST MUSICIAN. I AM THE GREATEST FRIEND. I AM THE GREATEST PEACEKEEPER. I AM THE GREATEST HUMANITARIAN.
You can keep saying that repeatedly so it becomes engraved in your mind. Whatever you want to be, you need to let your mind know.
Once you have a positive mindset and believe you CAN, you can start thinking about setting goals to achieve something in your heart. Something that you would ordinarily look at as impossible, but because of your mindset you don’t see the impossibility. You see the POSSIBILITY. You just strike out the ‘im’ and you move on.
Have a positive mindset. Believe you can do it. Why not you? Why can’t you achieve it? If people are achieving it why not you? The difference between the achiever and the non achiever is the MINDSET. Go get ’em, World Moms!
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by contributor Aisha Yesufu in Nigeria.
Photo credit of Aisha to the author. Images to World Moms Blog.