Three hundred days later, there is still no sign of the young girls abducted by Boko Haram in Nigeria. The entire world continues to wait for some word on the fate of these young women, and Boko Haram refuses to release any information about them.
Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai has kept the focus on the Nigerian schoolgirls over the past several months, and now her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, has written an open letter to the parents of the missing girls. Below is the letter in its entirety. It is both inspiring and heartbreaking, and it needs to be read by all of us who are the parents of young girls whom we cherish more than life itself, and by those who believe that education is the solution to the ignorance and violence of extremist groups such as Boko Haram:
Open Letter from Ziauddin Yousafzai to the Parents of Abducted Chibok Girls
“Dear parents of the kidnapped schoolgirls of Chibok,
My heart is heavy as I write to you on the eve of the 300th day since your beloved daughters have been taken from you. You are in my prayers every day. You have known a pain no parent should ever know.
It was this past July when Malala and I sat with you as you shared stories of your brave daughters, shed tears with you, and prayed with you for their safe return. We challenged President Goodluck Jonathan to meet with you, acknowledge your pain, acknowledge the sacrifice your daughters made to achieve an education, and promise his support.
Seven months later, I say not enough has been done. The world may turn their attention away, but my daughter Malala and I will not forget you nor your children. Like Malala, your children were targeted simply for being girls who love to learn.
Today, Malala and I call on President Goodluck Jonathan to take resolute action and increase the Nigerian government’s efforts to bring your daughters home safe and alive. It is his duty and responsibility to ensure the welfare of all Nigerian citizens.
It is up to all of Nigeria and the global community to raise their voices louder and demand your girls be brought home safely.
Education is a pathway to opportunity but every day women and girls face unspeakable challenges in their journeys to a better life. This is why through the Malala Fund, our family has continued to give its funding to support teenage girls in Northern Nigeria to allow them to pursue their education despite the many challenges they face.
When Malala was attacked by extremists for her commitment to education, I struggled to understand such a devastating act of violence. Sadly, these threats are an everyday reality for millions of girls and boys around the world, with the recent attack on a school in my nation of Pakistan being yet another tragic reminder of the risks faced by students and teachers. A school is a sacred place, an institution of growth and learning where no child should ever fear violence or retribution. It is my wish to see your daughters return home and to their classrooms in order to continue with their education, in a safe and protected environment.
Together we are stronger than the fear and ignorance attempting to tear us and our families apart. We cannot accept silent inaction. We cannot rest until we have justice for your daughters and for all girls and boys kept out of school.
Malala and I continue to stand with you and ask everyone to not forget, raise their voice, and demand the immediate return of your daughters.
With all my solidarity,
Your friend and father of Malala, Ziauddin Yousafzai.”
If you would like to add your voice to this letter or donate to the cause of education for young women around the world, you can go to Malala.org.
This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org