“Next” PSA Kicks Off Effort to Feed Thousands of Child Victims of Boko Haram

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The American University of Nigeria Foundation has released a public service announcement to raise awareness of the tragedy of hundreds of thousands of children and their families who have fled their homes to escape the Boko Haram insurgency in northeast Nigeria. The Foundation is asking concerned individuals to donate to help provide humanitarian aid for 276,000 internally displaced people - at least half of them children - sheltering in the homes of already impoverished relatives in Yola, Adamawa state.

The American University of Nigeria Foundation (AUNF) today launched a public service announcement (PSA) to highlight the slaughter of innocent children, women and men in Nigeria and to help feed the hundreds of thousands of displaced and orphaned children who are left behind in the wake of Boko Haram’s violence.

“When I traveled to northern Nigeria last week with members of the American University of Nigeria’s Adamawa Peace Initiative, we were told over and over about the countless children that have been orphaned, kidnapped, or killed. We may never know the total number,” said Dr. Margee Ensign, president of the American University of Nigeria (AUN), located in Yola, Adamawa state in northeastern Nigeria. “Hundreds of thousands have become refugees in their own country – going without enough food, adequate health care, and education. They have no hope for the future. Imagine if this happened in New York, or London, or Paris. The world would not tolerate the slaughter of tens of thousands of people in the United States or Europe, nor would the survivors be abandoned without food, shelter, education or hope. Yet, this is the reality that far too many children in Nigeria currently face." A report released on April 13, 2015 by the United Nations estimated that nearly 800,000 children have been forced to flee their homes as a result of the conflict in northeastern Nigeria.

The “Next” PSA focuses on an unnamed boy dreaming of joyful moments in life, such as playing with his friends, as the horrifying reality cuts through: he is next in line to be slaughtered by Boko Haram. “Next” can be seen here: http://www.aunf.org/psa

The visuals are imaginary, but the situation is all too real. On January 3, 2015, Boko Haram slaughtered thousands of children, women and men in Baga. According to Agence France Presse, at least 13,000 people have lost their lives because of the insurgency.

But the world is paying little notice.

“Next” was created by writer/producer Julio Cabral, who reached out to producer Elaine Sibert and director Norry Niven to assemble a team of talented production people from the Los Angeles and Dallas film communities. The team donated their time and used personal resources to create the emotional PSA. “We want to support the survivors and bring more attention to the atrocities committed by Boko Haram,” said Mr. Cabral. “This issue is not being given the attention that it deserves.”

AUN, with the help of its board members, faculty, staff and students, has been helping displaced people in the Yola area since March 2014. AUN is currently providing humanitarian aid to hundreds of thousands of internally displaced children and their families who are sleeping on front yards and sheltering in the homes of already impoverished relatives.

It costs AUN less than two cents to feed one person for one day, but resources are running out.

“We are turning to the world and asking parents to imagine that their child is “Next.” Whatever they have named their child, that name becomes “Next” in the eyes of Boko Haram. Hundreds of thousands of Nigerian children have fled to our town for safety.We provide food, shelter and a chance to let their dreams become a reality,” Ensign concluded.

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About American University of Nigeria Foundation (AUNF): http://www.aunf.org

The American University of Nigeria Foundation was launched in 2014 with the announcement of the #EducateOurGirls campaign which raises scholarship funds to provide an education for the 58 young women who escaped after they were kidnapped by Boko Haram from Chibok on April 14, 2014. AUNF has already funded the first year of remedial education for 21 of these young women who are currently studying at the American University of Nigeria (AUN), and hopes to raise additional funds to educate more of the escapees as well as other vulnerable children and youth in northeast Nigeria. Beginning in 2015, AUNF has also campaigned for donations to support AUN’s humanitarian relief efforts that provide food and support to hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people sheltering in Yola, Nigeria.

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