Last April, the media was on fire with the news of the 276 Nigerian schoolgirls, who were kidnapped by the terrorist organization Boko Haram because of their pursuit of education. The slogan ‘Bring Back our Girls’ lit up social media, with celebrities and politicians showing their support by holding signs with this message.
In spite of this trend, it has been five months and the girls have still not returned. While the media storm has died down, King’s Academy students have been hard at work trying to raise awareness for this problem. Last May, several angry and concerned students approached Mr. Daniel Alter with the idea of doing something to show their support. After several meetings, they decided to create a photo campaign, with each student holding a sign portraying a message for the people of Jordan, the West, Nigerian leaders, Boko Haram, and even to the girls themselves.
According to Leen Al Zu’bi ’17, “it wasn’t only a way to show our support and understand the issue. We were also trying to motivate others to do so.”
The campaign was a learning experience for everyone involved, as the students worked together to decide on their message, audience, medium and ultimate goal. Almost everyone agreed that they wanted to raise awareness about this issue, not only to help the girls, but to show the world that the actions of Boko Haram and other terrorist groups are not representative of Islam. In the words of Bushra Al Sou’b ’17, “Boko Haram claims to be a group of ‘Islamist men.’ The way they claim they are Muslims is ironic because Islam stands for the complete opposite of what they do.”
The students published their campaign on the tumblr page letsbringbackourgirls.tumblr.com, but hoped to further expand their reach.
Thus far, their hard work has been featured in both The Jordan Times and major Nigerian newspaper The Daily Trust. As their project gains media attention, the students hope to relight the fire of devotion for this cause. In the words of a Nigerian student at King’s, “it means so much to know that people around the world care.”
Dina Kuttab worked on this campaign with classmates Marah Ajeilat, Bushra Al-Sou’b, Katherine Jonsson, Feryal Saddedin, Leen Al-Zu’bi, Zein Khashman, Tayma Ali, Abdallah Ajeilat, Ruiqi Wen, Sara Awad, and Jack Blacklaw, with help from Mr. Daniel Alter and Ms. Tessa Fairbairn. Readers can find their campaign and more photographs at letsbringbackourgirls.tumblr.com