276

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On the 14th of April, 276 girls were kidnapped from their school in Nigeria. They were at school to take a physics test.

The men who attacked them are a part of a group, Boko Haram, whose name literally (yes, literally) means “Western education is sinful.”

These men have said that because these girls were in school, Boko Haram has raped some of them, has killed some of them, and is selling them into forced marriages. For $12.50 apiece.

Because they were in school.

Are you as horrified by this as I am?

The official response from the Nigerian government has been heart-breakingly pathetic. Too little is being done, too late.

When I heard about the kidnapping, I was absolutely appalled. I wanted to do something — anything — to help. But what can I do? I’m just one person on the other side of the world. Yes, I can hope that the families and soldiers looking for these girls will find and free them. But with each passing day, that seems less and less likely.

But is there anything else I can do? Is there anything you can do?

I’ve thought of a thing. And I’d like you to join me. And I’d like 274 other people to join you and me. Together, if we each give just $276.00, we can build a safe school for girls in rural Africa.

I’ve done the math over and over, because I can’t believe it’s this little. Join me and make this happen.

If 276 of us give $276 through the incredible school-building nonprofit Building Tomorrow, we can build a school. A school where girls are encouraged to learn and flourish in a school that will help them raise themselves, their families, and their country out of poverty.

I’m looking for 276 people to help honor these girls.

I’m looking for you.

If you want to join, go to the Building Tomorrow donation site and sign up to give. It’ll take 30 seconds.

Please, join me.


Questions and Answers

Who are you?

My name is Charlie Park (@charliepark). I’m a father of three girls who love to learn; I want to help more girls have more opportunities to learn, to grow, and to make the world better.

Are you a nonprofit? Who am I giving my money to?

Your donation will go directly to a non-profit whose entire existence is to build schools in under-privileged rural areas in Africa. (I am not affiliated with Building Tomorrow, though I’ve admired them for years. This is my first time donating to them. Join me!)

Who is Building Tomorrow?

Building Tomorrow is a nonprofit that raises funds, then builds schools in Africa (photos, map). They have partnerships in Uganda, and have built 14 schools (with 6 more currently under construction). They are dedicated to being transparent and have open-sourced their organizational model. They give communities in Uganda a safe, local, and permanent school to call their own. They are committed to helping girls and women lead and learn.

Does the math check out?

Yes. 276 people × 276 dollars = $76,000! Building Tomorrow budgets $60K – $70K to build each school. We can do this.

Will donating to Building Tomorrow directly help the people of Nigeria?

Sadly, no. Building Tomorrow has established deep ties with the people of Uganda, in eastern Africa.

Why build schools in Uganda if this atrocity happened in Nigeria?

This is an important point, and I want to be clear. Uganda and Nigeria are two different countries — as far from each other as Austin and Boston. But a lot needs to change in Nigeria, especially in the northern part of the country, before it will have the infrastructure and support in place to make a safe school for girls a reality. One of the best ways to help Nigerians is for us to learn more about them and their struggles.

The Ugandan government has plenty of areas where it needs to change. But it is far, far, far more supportive — of public education, and especially of public education for girls — than the government of Nigeria. One of the best ways to help the Ugandan government improve further is by helping its children — especially its young women — learn. I have not found an organization working in Nigeria with the same level of support, transparency, or past success as Building Tomorrow.

My fervent hope is that, in the future, I’ll be able to give another $276 to Building Tomorrow or a similar organization to build a school in Nigeria. In the meantime, as one Nigerian citizen said about the276.org, “this is the right kind of pressure. Not too long ago the world would not have cared about a bunch of missing African girls. Now they do, and it is making us look bad. Nigerians are already pressuring the government to take action, and the increasing international outrage can only add to that pressure.”

I’m donating to Building Tomorrow as a way of honoring the girls in Nigeria and the vision they had for their lives. Please join me.

Is this donation tax-deductible?

It is. Building Tomorrow will send you an electronic receipt.

Have people donated yet?

Yes! We’re currently at $12,269 raised! That’s incredible! But there’s more work to do.

Any amount you can help with is awesome. If you can give the $276, or more, it’ll get us even closer to building a school.

How do I join you?

Take 30 seconds and donate. (Then send me an email afterwards, so I can thank you. Or, even better, tweet about it, so more people can join us!)

Please. Join me and make this happen. Let’s build a school where girls can have a life rich with learning, and support, and love.

Join me and the others who have given, to help honor the kidnapped girls in Nigeria.
Let’s build a school.

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