Columba College pupil Caitlin Addison (17) with green and
white ribbons which will be worn by pupils in secondary
schools across the country today to raise awareness of the
plight of about 200 abducted Nigerian schoolgirls. Photo by
Watching the search for about 200 abducted Nigerian
schoolgirls unfold in media reports has left many Columba
College pupils considering the chilling question, could that
happen to me?
Boko Haram militants stormed a secondary school in the
village of Chibok, near the Cameroon border, on April 14, and
kidnapped the girls.
While there was no threat of it happening in New Zealand,
year 13 pupil Caitlin Addison said it struck many Columba
College pupils that if they were living in Nigeria, they
could have been among the kidnap victims.
''I think there's a real connection because it is high school
students at a girls' school, and I know for me personally,
when I heard the numbers of girls, I thought, 'Wow. That's
almost our entire senior school'.
''And to think that many girls have been taken and that many
families are suffering right now in Nigeria, it really is
In a bid to raise awareness of the incident, Caitlin
established a Facebook group called Campaign to Free the
Girls of Nigeria about a week ago, and since then, more than
1000 people have joined. Support for the campaign was so
strong, pupils at Columba College decided to hold a Ribbon
''We're asking the students to wear either green or white
ribbons in their hair to support the girls of Nigeria, to try
to raise awareness.
"The aim of the Ribbon Day is to show the Nigerian Government
that the whole world is watching and following the story of
the Nigerian schoolgirls, and that we want action to be
taken, and that we want these girls to be able to return to
their families and to their education.
''We've been inviting other schools to get involved
throughout the country and now we've got more than 30 schools
all over New Zealand participating. We've also had a lot of
support from the University of Otago.
''It's been quite sobering to see how many people are willing
to come on board and support it.''
Caitlin said the Ribbon Day would be the first of many
events. She was planning more events in coming weeks to keep
the issue in the public eye.