On 14 April 2014 the insurgency group Boko Haram kidnapped 276 girls from their local school in Chibok in Nigeria. Two years on, most of the girls are still missing. And they are not alone: We estimate that a total of 2,000 women and girls, as well as many boys have been abducted.
Distressingly, girls and women that do return face mistrust and persecution. Communities fear they may have been radicalised, and their children born of sexual violence 'tainted' by the blood of Boko Haram fighters. This puts them at risk of discrimination and even potential violence in the future.
A new project by International Alert and UNICEF seeks to address this. We aim to give returning women and girls a future and support their re-integration.
Together with our partners, Federation of Muslim Women's Associations in Nigeria (FOMWAN) and Herwa Community Development Initiative, we run collective therapy sessions and dialogue clubs where survivors can talk about their experiences. We also help local communities prepare for their return by fostering empathy and trust.
The project is in early days, but is already helping transform lives. Read some of their stories below.
But there is an urgent need - and opportunity - to scale up this work. This is why we are calling on the international community to not only #BringBackOurGirls, but also step up support for the girls and their communities when they do return.
Please join us to help raise awareness of these issues, and help build a better #FutureForOurGirls!