Collyer’s students were galvanised into action today, in support of the global media campaign #BringBackOurGirls to raise awareness of the kidnapped students in Nigeria.
Collyer’s IT and art students orchestrated the massive exercise, with the help of teachers Di Dowling and Mel Kavanagh, to demonstrate support from the whole college community. Students and staff had their photos taken individually, or in groups, holding the poster. By the end of lunchtime well over 300 pictures had already been taken!
Francis Maude MP, sent a message of support for the students: “I was pleased to hear that Collyer’s students are engaged in raising awareness of the plight of the kidnapped Nigerian students. You don’t have to be a parent of daughters to imagine the anguish being felt by their families, and it is deeply frustrating that Britain has not been able to help sooner in joining the search for these girls.
Perhaps the most important issue being raised here is that there is still a huge gulf between young people who can assume that education is a basic human right, and those young women who are either denied it altogether or persecuted for attending school.
If this global campaign of solidarity highlights such inequality, helps to find these girls and makes a difference in stopping the desperate trade of human trafficking, then something real and lasting will have been achieved.”
Collyer’s Principal Dr Jackie Johnston said: “International communities must exert pressure to try to get these young women back to their families. Nigerians are outraged at these abductions. Attacks on education, including the education of women, are attempts to set back their country and prevent them from having a brighter future. The school in Chibok, which was hosting final year exams for Christian and Muslim schoolgirls, was one of the only ones still open in this remote area of Borno state and had no security protection that night. It is the work of cowards and criminals to take these young women and they must be stopped.
All people who understand that education empowers and frees us should add their voice to the campaign to Bring Back Our Girls. Collyer’s staff and students feel very strongly on this issue. We must speak out.”
The photos taken today will be merged onto a video stream and published on YouTube and available from the Collyer’s web site.