True freedom is not a reality even after escape for women and girls in Nigeria kidnapped by Boko Haram.
Torn apart by years of conflict, their communities too often receive them back with fear and suspicion.
Four years on from the Chibok abduction
As we reach the fourth anniversary of the Chibok abuction, many women and girls still remain in captivity and for those who have returned home, the ordeal does not stop there.
The insurgency has created so many dividing lines, apart from just the guns and the bombs … lines that we need to rebuild.
said Albert, a Project Manager with International Alert in Nigeria
But community by community, our peacebuilders are helping people to talk about their fears about survivors of Boko Haram captivity and hear the reality of the women’s experience in open and safe dialogue spaces.
Women and girls who have lived through so much suffering have the chance to be heard and tell their own story.
It could be anybody. It could be you, your relative.
“Our dialogue sessions are working… people are actually putting themselves in the survivors’ shoes and things are changing, you can tell," says Hyelni, a peacebuilder with International Alert.
Community and religious leaders, both men and women, who attend our workshops take the message back to their communities to accept survivors. Every leader creates a multiplier effect by helping more communities change their view from distrust to understanding.
So amid the celebrations of the girls’ return let’s make sure they are given real freedom when they get back home.
Share to support women and girl survivors of Boko Haram
Read more 4 years after Chibok
Boko Haram survivors might come home, but years later many are still far from a happy Ending - Sophie Gallagher in the Huffington Post
Beyond the media frenzy, survivors of Boko Haram violence need real support - Our Nigeria Country Director Cindy Chungong in Reuters
Hear more about our project to support the reintegration of survivors of sexual violence by Boko Haram in northeast Nigeria.