To fight militancy, we invest overwhelmingly in the military toolbox but not so much in the education toolbox that has a far better record at defeating militancy. – Nicholas Kristof
She Is Safe works in some of the most underdeveloped places in the world to empower girls in order that they would be free from abuse and exploitation. Our work helps these girls, who are born in abject poverty, to live a healthy life. We educate them so they may know the love of Christ and spread light and life into the communities around them.
Though the details were initially hazy, it was immediately apparent an atrocity was committed upon a community in Nigeria last month. The militant group Boko Haram pulled several hundred schoolgirls out of their beds in the middle of the night, threw them into trucks and vanished with them into the jungle.
After recoiling in shock at such a brazen attack, the call for rescue went out from nearly every country around the world. Nonetheless, beneath the anger and determination, there was still an undercurrent of confusion. Why attack a school of helpless girls? Why not focus the attack on a military outpost or critical infrastructure?
When Boko Haram attacked girls rather than soldiers, they unknowingly admitted the power and value of girls. The leaders of Boko Haram and other extremists understand that a lack of education, especially among girls, will allow them to continue spawning oppression in villages and communities throughout the world.
In the United States, there have been calls for military intervention. A desire not only to see the girls returned to their families, but for the complete destruction of Boko Haram. Though this desire may be borne from a passion for justice, destroying Boko Haram is not a long term solution to a problem which has plagued countries, cities and communities for years. Groups, such as Boko Haram, which oppress and abuse girls, will continue to exist as long as girls have no opportunities to escape.
We at She Is Safe have learned educated girls are much less likely to be thrown into these, or similar situations. Girls, when educated and empowered, are the most powerful agents of change in communities. Educated girls have fewer health problems and fewer children. In addition, according to the World Bank, educating girls in third world countries can lead to a 1.2% yearly increase in GDP, assuming a resulting increase in the workforce.
Girls around the world are treated as property. They are viewed as pawns before marriage and slaves once they are married. In Nepal, girls are sold so families can buy houses. In India, girls are forced into brothels because their families succumb to the lure of “job recruiters.” In Mali, girls are married at young ages, easily divorced, and forced to live on the streets.
She Is Safe is working in Nepal to provide families with goats so their girls can remain at home and go to school. We are working in India to rescue girls who were born in brothels and educate them in safe, caring environments. In Mali, we are helping women start their own businesses and learn to save, and they in turn are helping orphans around them.
As we pray that the captive Nigerian girls will be returned from Boko Haram to their families and their schools, let this incident reinforce our resolve to strengthen families to protect and educate at risk girls around the world. As She Is Safe empowers girls, we are reducing the opportunities for the exploitation of girls. As we seek to change cultural values, we are working to prevent mass kidnappings like this from occurring in the future. Please join us as we work to help girls build better lives.
To learn more about our work throughout Africa and Asia, visit: