U.S. billionaire, Robert F. Smith, businessman and the second richest African-American has pledged to pay for educational expenses of the girls who escaped from Boko Haram in Nigeria.
The 21 girls have taken a risky step by going back to school and attending the American University of Nigeria (AUN).
It has been 588 days since the school girls were abducted in April last year by Boko Haram terrorists who stormed their secondary school in the town of Chibok in Borno state, kidnapping 276 girls.
The plight of the abducted girls and the fifty-seven who managed to escape appears to have been largely forgotten.
Reports suggest that the girls who managed to escape have been left “traumatised and ostracised, they had then been largely left to their own devices, bar a handful sought out by aid workers”.
Struck by the plight of the girls the founder, chairman and chief executive of Vista Equity Partners resolved to play his part. The billionaire pledged to “cover their expenses for as long as they needed it”.
According to Dr. Margee Ensign, vice chancellor of AUN, in April this year about 46 Chibok girls who escaped wanted to attend the school, but there were no funds to pay for their education, Atlanta BlackStar reported.
Commenting on Smith’s promise to pay school fees and expenses for the girls, Ensign said: “And then – it was just incredible – he basically said, see if you can find the rest of the escaped girls, and we’ll help them too”.
“We’ve got the Black Lives Matter campaign going on in the U.S. at the moment, and these girls matter too,” “Their lives matter not just because of the events that happened, but just because their lives matter,” Smith reportedly said.
Through the Zoëlimax Foundation, Smith has been helping those in need through funding education, poverty reduction projects and promoting gender equality.