In April 2014, the world was in an uproar when 276 teenage girls were abducted by Boko Haram, the insurgent group that is against girls having any form of western education. Two young girls Joy Bishara and Lydia Pogu were part of the girls kidnapped from their classroom. The world voiced their plight with the hashtag, #BringBackOurGirls. Bishara and Pogu survived the kidnapping, and they are now college graduates ready to make a difference in the world.
The two explained that when they were kidnapped by the rebels, they took the risk of jumping out of a moving truck en route to a forest hideout.
Staring at life and death in the face, Bishara boldly chose death for fear of the unknown of what the extremist group could do to her, she said. Pogu and 55 other girls also jumped their way to freedom, preferring broken limbs or death to life with their captors.
“I had to decide if I wanted to jump out or go with these people. My choices were to die or go with them, Not knowing what they would do to me, I chose to die,” Bishara told WFLA.
According to PEOPLE, with the help of the Jubilee Campaign, a humanitarian organization, Pogu and Bishara left their families in Nigeria in August 2014 to the United States to get access to education and be whomever they want to be.
They first enrolled in a high school in Virginia for two years and then transferred to the Canyonville Academy in Oregon during their senior year. The pair have always known they would give back to their community while helping others from falling victims to terrorism.
In a 2017 interview, they said they wanted to use their education to help people in their hometown Chibok.
Pogu, 23, and Bishara, 24, got a full-ride scholarship to pursue a bachelor’s degree in legal studies and social, respectively. The two young women graduated in April from the Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida, and are poised to give back massively.
Pogu has her eyes set on specializing in human rights law so that she will be able “to bring justice for people,” especially because of the ordeal she and the other girls had to endure. “Because after what happened to me, I felt there was nobody that brought justice for the Chibok girls.”
Most of the people in Chibok, a town in northern Nigeria, lack basic amenities and support throughout their daily lives, making them vulnerable to the harsh realities of their world.
Bishara looks to set up a community support agency in Chibok to “take in those who have been injured in a violent relationship, have been attacked by the Boko Haram, lost their property, lost their food,” she said.
The girls have had to endure living miles away from their families. They said living in the States has not always been smooth, especially being away from family during the coronavirus pandemic. However, they are appreciative of the chances they have had and cannot wait to visit home since it has been nearly five years since they saw their people.
They both plan to further their education and hope to pursue a master’s degree at the private Christian university — Southeastern University — where they had their bachelor’s.
Today, an estimated 100 girls who Boko Haram abducted in 2014 are still missing and Boko Haram’s presence continues to be life-threatening to children and their education in Nigeria, Voice of America reports.