As Esther read through the words of encouragement in the card signed by Nigerians from all walks of life, tears welled up in her eyes. She paused for a moment, clutching the card tightly against her chest and fighting back tears. Tears of joy.
- Esther clutching the card tightly against her chest and fighting back tears. Tears of joy.
"God bless you guys one thousand times" she said repeatedly. "Thank you, I'm so grateful." Simi, an Abuja Hub Shaper reaches out to hug her and shares some reassuring words. In that moment, Esther was overwhelmed by the love from a group of 'strangers' who cared about her plight. "I love you guys" she said, "thank you".
Esther is a victim of terrorism. She is one of the survivors of the October 2 blasts in Kuje and Nyanya. She will soon learn that she lost her sister in the blast as well.
In the face of terrorism, rather than fold arms and lament, Abuja Global Shapers unite the city of Abuja to rally support for victims of terrorism.
- Abuja Global Shapers unite the city of Abuja to rally support for the bomb blast victims
In the last few years, members of the terrorist group—Boko Haram—have initiated countless attacks in especially cities of North East Nigeria. They have devised several tactics in their bid to divide the country under the guise of promoting Islam.
On October 2, 2015 the terrorist group launched multiple attacks including four bomb blasts in two cities of the Federal Capital Territory-Kuje and Nyanya. Scores of people were reported dead and injured as a result of the blasts.
Committed to action and impact, the Abuja Hub of the Global Shapers Community conducted visits to three of the government hospitals that were reported to have received some of the victims, to ascertain the number of the victims and how the public could be of support.
Following the hospital visit, the Abuja Hub launched an online campaign, #AGSDrive, to unite Nigerians in support of the bomb victims. Shapers called on members of the public to donate toiletries, food items, clothing and money to the victims, some of whom also lost their family members to the blast.
- Abuja Hub launched an online campaign, #AGSDrive, to unite Nigerians in support of the bomb victims
- Some of the items raised by the Abuja Global Shapers during #AGSDrive
The Abuja Hub set up two collection points that were manned by some members of the Hub and volunteers. The response from the public to the call for support was humbling. From passers-by on the streets of Adetokumbo Ademola, where one of the kiosks was set up, to tweeps who learned about the information via social media, Nigerians showed their unwavering support to the victims through donations of food items, clothing and cash.
Global Shapers from across the continent also sent in video messages of encouragement and support to the victims and to Nigerians.
In three days, the Hub raised N197, 000 in cash and lots of items including drinks, clothing, snacks, beverage and toiletries.
On October 9, 2015, the Abuja Hub members, led by the Curator Jake Okechukwu, organized a hospital visit to the National Hospital to distribute the items donated by well-meaning Nigerians to the victims. The visit was a very emotional one for both the Shapers and the victims. The victims as well as the hospital staff were full of appreciation for the gesture extended by the members of the Abuja Hub.
For the residents of the city and for us as a Hub, the bomb blast was a wakeup call and a crude reminder that we must all join hands in the fight against terrorism. When we rally support for victims of terrorism we unite against a common enemy.
Bella Anne Ndubuisi (@bellanwa) is a Global Shaper of the Abuja Hub.