By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There is a growing grassroots effort in Philadelphia to raise awareness and support for the more than 200 girls who were kidnapped from a school in Nigeria and are reportedly being sold to by their abductors to collaborators for as little as twelve dollars (see related story).
The girls are said to be between 16 and 18 years old. They were taking a physics exams at a school near Nigeria’s border with Cameroon when Islamic extremists known as Boko Haram — which is translated to mean “forbidden books” — took the girls.
And they haven’t been seen in two weeks — a black eye for Nigerian authorities.
“My reaction, it’s anger — it’s anger,” says Jumoke Dada, who runs Philadelphia-based “Project Aloe,” which provides support to girls headed to college.
As a Nigerian-American, she says, she wanted to do something to raise awareness about the plight of the girls, so she started a Facebook page. And in two days, she has more than 300 “likes.”
“People are calling for action, from the UN, from the president, from community groups,” Dada tells KYW Newsradio. “People want to know what’s going on, so I’m sharing that information as I get it.”
Dada says her main goal is to raise awareness and to build national and international support so that authorities will step in to help these young women.
“The more we talk about this, the better,” she says. “I am glad there are multiple campaigns, that there are multiple petitions.”
Tomorrow, Dada and several groups will meet at 12 noon in Love Park, at 15th and Arch Streets in Philadelphia, for a rally and prayer vigil for the girls. She says supporters of the girls should bring a red rose.
This is just one of several efforts across the country. Others are taking place in New York and Washington, DC.