Young bookworms uses education to combat terrorism

Programme Manager, Life Builders Initiative (LBI), Miss Timi Onafeso (right) addressing children of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from the ‘School Without Walls’ before their participation in an environmental sanitation exercise organised by LBI in commemoration of this year’s World Malaria Day at Durumi camp in Abuja…yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

Programme Manager, Life Builders Initiative (LBI), Miss Timi Onafeso (right) addressing children of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from the ‘School Without Walls’ before their participation in an environmental sanitation exercise organised by LBI in commemoration of this year’s World Malaria Day at Durumi camp in Abuja…yesterday.<br />PHOTO: NAN

A non-governmental organisation (NGO), “Young Bookworms,” through one of its initiatives called “Boko Halal” which literally means ‘Education is good’, is using simple and harmless ads to promote education and the culture of reading as strategies to combat insurgency and its corresponding negative effects in Northern Nigeria.

According to one of its volunteers, a Public Health Practitioner and Mandela Washington Fellow, Funmilola James, the NGO agrees with Prof. Wole Soyinka that lack of education breeds sinister groups like Boko Haram, she advised government at all levels to use quality education to address the growing level of illiteracy in the country.

“‘Young Bookworms’ believes Nigerians should join forces with the Federal Government and other relevant stakeholders to use the message of ‘Boko Halal’ to fight Boko Haram’.

“Since its inception two years ago, the ‘Young Bookworms’ has executed various projects including ‘#putyourselfintheirshoes’ which encourages citizens to put their faces behind a veil as a way of showing solidarity for the plight of the 276 kidnapped Chibok girls and their parents.”

According to her, their website: www.beachibokgirl.com is open to everybody.
She recalled that during the Ramadan period In August, 2015, Young Bookworms also ‘kidnapped’ the shoes of worshippers in two Mosques in Lagos State to show how we as human beings will get apprehensive over mundane things like our missing shoes, yet we do not show enough empathy to kidnapped school girls.

She said that they have produced a video titled: ‘Project Shoes’ and is available on YouTube as well.

“At the moment, our very latest video- ‘hijacking bills’ is playing on Wazobia FM and MITV. Before the end of April, the initiative is set to release another video that will touch upon the presumed justification for insurgency and suicide bombing.”

The Boko Halal initiative she said has recorded great success including about three million free impressions on Eskimi, 13,132 visits to the website ‘www.beachibokgirl.com’, getting 8,781 people to ‘become’ Chibok girls so far, by putting their faces behind a veil and having some of these veiled faces showcased on 10 billboards across Nigeria.”

According to her ‘Young Bookworms’ hopes to work with organized units like religious organizations, shopping malls and schools to distribute books individuals donated to internally displaced children.

“Through existing, credible NGOs, these books will be distributed to the 1,232,816 internally displaced children that are less than 18 years in about 84 IDP camps identified across 13 States in the North of Nigeria. Some of these books will also be donated to internally displaced children in several host communities in these States.”

According to another volunteer with the NGO- Jesujoba Popoola, a creative writer and singer, Young Bookworms developed an app which is accessible to the general public on www.beachibokgirl.com.

“We have veiled faces of President Muhammadu Buhari and the Presidents of Chad and Cameroun to draw their attention to the issues at hand.

‘Meat of the matter’, a video that is also available online seeks to continually inspire citizen engagement around the issue of the 276 kidnapped Chibok girls, to ensure we do not trivialize the agony and apprehension their families are going through.”



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