On Saturday, New Yorkers will march on the Nigerian Consulate to urge the government to step up their efforts to find hundreds of kidnapped school girls, and one Nigerian from Harlem who actively raises money to educate girls in her homeland says she is traumatized by the terrorist act, and she fears for the safety of her students. NY1's Cheryl Wills filed the following report.
Through Nkechie's Project, her Harlem-based not-for-profit, Nkechie Ogbodo raises money for the teens to go to school, but after the kidnapping of nearly 300 students, Ogbodo now fears for their safety as militants try to turn back the clock on women's empowerment on the continent.
"Nowhere is safe in Nigeria," Ogbodo said. "I feel like they have penetrated beyond what we know."
In videotaped messages, Nigerian girls voice their gratitude for Nkechie's Project, but it's been widely reported that Nigerian girls are now terrified to leave home and are in hiding while Boko Horam terrorists are on the loose.
"Boko Horam, they are feeling threatened," Ogbodo said. "They don't want girls to be educated because they know that when you educate a girl, especially in Africa, when you give her the power through education, she's going to come back to educate her community and family as well."
Ogbodo said she is especially proud that the first lady tweeted her support for the girls in a powerful photo.
"She's a mother, and I think that every single mom that's out there will be feeling the pain of these mothers," Ogbodo said.
Through Nkechie's Project, Ogbodo travels across the Atlantic to check on her students in two schools. Her not-for-profit is sponsoring Saturday's rally at the Nigerian Consulate, and she is hopeful that the terrorists will ultimately be defeated.
"As tragic as this situation is, this is going to be a platform where we can begin to dialogue and talk about the challenges," Ogbodo said. "Oh my God. I'm even more emboldened to do more for these girls, for the girls of Nigeria and the girls of Africa."