Girls still wearing green for 234 missing

2014-06-16 00:00

THE abduction of over 200 Nigerian schoolgirls by the Islamist group Boko Haram in April might have faded from the newspaper headlines, but it is still a live issue for the girls of St Mary’s Diocesan School for Girls in Kloof where many of the girls are sporting green hearts last week in solidarity with their fellow pupils far away.

This came about as the result of a project that saw the pupils raise over R3 000 for the 234 Awareness campaign #bringbackourgirls.

“We first heard about the girls being kidnapped from their school on Sky News and the SABC,” says St Mary’s head girl Stephanie Weiss.

Coincidentally the same day St Mary’s was nominated by St Anne’s Diocesan College in Hilton to create a Random Act of Kindness (RAK) project. This initiative, currently under way in KZN schools, sees the nominated school having to devise a “pay it forward” style project.

For the girls of St Mary’s it was a no-brainer. “The kidnapping happened at a girl’s school and it made sense for ourselves to stand in solidarity,” said Weiss.

“When we told the school about it at assembly, that we had this one idea and ‘how do you feel about it’ there were nodding heads around the whole auditorium.”

The RAK project was put together with the aim of raising awareness about the issue, putting pressure on the Nigeria government to rescue the girls and to raise funds for the 234 campaign.

“We took the money mile and reinvented it, taping up the green and white Nigerian flag on a board. You had to put silver coins on the white section and green notes on the green part,” said Weiss. “We raised R1 000 by the end of the first day.”

Another aspect of the project saw green balloons — 50 in all — being sold for a donation. “The girls then wrote something which was put inside each balloon — facts about the abduction, prayers, messages of support to the girls — and then let the balloons fly off together,” said Weiss.

The message was also spread to other schools when St Mary’s various sports teams played with green ribbons in their hair and green hearts printed on their hands, as did other girls not involved in any sports teams.

All these activities were featured on a video posted on YouTube that can be found at

The school choir, which will be touring to Latvia in July to take part in the World Choir Games, also dedicated the song Freedom is coming, which is part of a medley that they are performing at the games, to the Nigerian girls who were kidnapped.

Though the campaign has officially ended interest hasn’t faded, said Jo Kinsey, deputy head, pastoral. “The girls are still wearing green.”


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