Washington, DC (PRWEB) September 04, 2014
The American University of Nigeria (AUN) today announced the formation of the American University of Nigeria Foundation and the launch of the #EducateOurGirls campaign to provide full scholarships to the young Nigerian girls who escaped after being kidnapped by Boko Haram. The #BringBackOurGirls campaign raised awareness of the horrors perpetrated by Boko Haram. #EducateOurGirls provides citizens across the globe with the opportunity to demonstrate to Boko Haram and others who would marginalize women that the world actively supports the rights of girls and women to pursue their education in a safe environment.
“The world was shocked when so many innocent girls were kidnapped for wanting an education, and we are all angry that so many are still in captivity,” said Dr. Margee Ensign, President of AUN. “Today, we are proud to announce the #EducateOurGirls campaign that will provide scholarships for the kidnapped girls who have escaped. We are asking the citizens of the world to put their money where their hashtags are and tangibly express their support for education for and protection of the human rights of these girls.”
On April 15th 2014, Boko Haram kidnapped an estimated 276 female students from the town of Chibok in Borno state, Nigeria. 58 of these young girls escaped. To ensure their continued education, AUN has raised funds to provide scholarships to 11 students who will begin their studies at AUN this fall. The girls will enter at the level determined to be most appropriate after testing. AUN is reserving one year of remedial education for each girl.
With the #EducateOurGirls campaign, AUN hopes to secure funds for the other girls who escaped. AUN also plans to give scholarships for the girls still in captivity once they are released, as well as to other vulnerable Nigerian girls, boys and young men and women in the three northeastern states that have been under a state of emergency since May 2013.
“The importance of education and the education of women in particular cannot be overstated,” said Dr. Ensign. “Education transforms lives, and improving women’s access to education and health care is the most important intervention a society can make towards development.”
According to a 2014 UNESCO report, “While universal youth literacy [in Nigeria] has almost been achieved for the richest women aged 15 to 24, their poorest counterparts will need to wait 70 years to realize this fundamental right if no active steps are taken to fight illiteracy among the most disadvantaged groups.”
The education crisis in Nigeria affects all children, not just girls. There are close to 11 million children out of school in Nigeria, the most in the world. The overall literacy rate is around 50%, and in the northeast, AUN’s own data point to a figure closer to 80%. “All Nigerian youth deserve an education,” stated Dr. Ensign. “We want to give them that chance.”
In the face of Boko Haram demanding an end to western education and female education in particular, AUN remains steadfast in educating Nigerian men and women in a western-style university in Yola, Adamawa state, in northeastern Nigeria. AUN is the only American university in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donations can be made to the American University of Nigeria Foundation, a U.S. based 501(c)3 through http://www.aunf.org.
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About American University of Nigeria
The American University of Nigeria was established in 2004. Conceived as Africa’s first development university, its mission is to promote service learning and to educate leaders who will be prepared to tackle the development issues of Nigeria and Africa. The university offers an American-style education modeled after the curriculum of American universities, using the latest in Internet technology and e-learning resources. AUN has both undergraduate and graduate university programs, as well as a primary and secondary school.