Almost 300 young women were kidnapped by Boko Haram from Chibok, Borno state in northeastern Nigeria in April 2014. 58 of those young women escaped their captors. 25 of those who escaped are now back in school at the American University of Nigeria.
Thanks to hundreds of gifts from generous donors all over the world, including two extraordinary anonymous philanthropists, we have been able to raise enough funds to provide scholarships for the entire academic careers of the 25 escaped Chibok students at AUN. We will have more information on these donations soon, so check back regularly or sign up for updates.
If you would like to support our work to educate other vulnerable youth in northeast Nigeria, please read more about the “Feed and Read” program by clicking here, the “Feed and Read for Girls” program here, and about our scholarship campaign here.
For the story of how these brave young women – they are not girls – from Chibok came to study at AUN, please keep reading.
In May 2014, AUN learned that a number of the “Chibok girls” who were kidnapped by Boko Haram from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok had escaped. An AUN security guard approached the head of security to ask if AUN could help her sister and her sister’s classmates who had managed to escape the terrorists by jumping out of windows, trucks, and running for their lives into the bushes. The young women were back home in Chibok, but too afraid of another Boko Haram attack to stay at home or go to school, so they spent their days hiding in the bush or walking for miles along major roads.
We agreed to help them.
On August 30 2015, we drove three-quarters of the way to Chibok to pick up eleven of the escaped students and their parents. We are honored and privileged that they have trusted us with their daughters. Four more young women showed up at AUN’s gates a few days later. In October 2014, six more came to join their classmates. In August 2015, another two arrived at AUN.
A total of 25 of the young women from Chibok who escaped from Boko Haram are now continuing their studies at AUN.
AUN is located in Yola, Adamawa state in northeast Nigeria and it is the only American style university in Sub-Saharan Africa. The education AUN provides is as rigorous as at any university in the U.S. and its proximity to Chibok means they can visit their families regularly.
The scholarship to AUN covers each student’s physical, emotional and academic needs from housing and tuition to food and security, from cellphones and minutes for their phones to clothing and running shoes and trips home to their families during the holidays.
The students are in an individualized remedial education program, preparing to take the JAMB and WAEC exams (similar to SATs in the U.S.) required to enter AUN’s four year undergraduate program. They are split into three groups (advanced, intermediate and beginner) and study every day from 9 am to 5 pm. After class, they enjoy running track and playing basketball as a way to bond with their friends and relax.
Early in 2015, we asked the students if they felt ready to take the annual exams. Two said yes and passed! They began their college careers in AUN’s undergraduate program in August 2015. The others will continue in the remedial program until they, too, feel ready to take the exams.
The students are looking forward to pursuing careers in law, medicine, and education. When AUN President Margee Ensign asked the students what education means to them, one of them replied: “Education gives me the wings I need to fly.” We cannot wait to see the great things these amazing young women will do with their wings, and we thank all of our donors for helping them soar.
While the education for these students are supported by generous donations, AUN has several programs that are helping to address the education crisis for other children and youth in northeast Nigeria. Learn more: