Another tearful birthday apart

Esther Yakube speaking at the Heritage Foundation about the abduction of her daughter, Dorcas

“Happy Birthday to my beloved daughter. Wish you were here to celebrate your 20th birthday with you, I pray that the Almighty will bring you home safely. I can’t wait to be with you again and forever. I miss you so much my child. #Bringbackdorcas

This heart-breaking message was posted to Facebook Friday morning. Dorcas Maida Yakubu, youngest of the 276 Chibok secondary school girls kidnapped by Boko Haram in 2014, turned 20-years-old this week. It’s been four years since her abduction, and while 164 girls have been reunited with family, Dorcas remains in captivity.

When four of us from 21Wilberforce met with Dorcas’ parents in Nigeria March of 2016, her mother, Esther, shared that she named her oldest daughter Dorcas to honor a New Testament leader “full of good works,” with a reputation for making and distributing clothes to widows and the poor. One month after our meeting, Esther released a powerful letter of hope to her daughter.

Boko Haram replied to Esther’s letter by featuring Dorcas in their “proof of life” video, released three months later. In the video, Dorcas asked parents of kidnapped Chibok girls to be patient and to urge the Nigerian government to meet the demands of Boko Haram so they would be set free. She also shared “there is no suffering we have not seen.”

The Nigerian government did negotiate with Boko Haram and 103 girls were returned. But not Dorcas. Boko Haram once again forced her front and center in a second video they released. This time she was wearing a black veil, holding an AK47 and telling her parents she did not want to return home.

In the four years since Dorcas was kidnapped, her mother Esther Yakubu has demonstrated incredible courage and faith as she has advocated for the release of her daughter and all the girls still missing. On Dorcas’ birthday, I asked Esther what she would like me to share with you. This was her reply: “I would like you to ask those who know 21Wilberforce to pray for the protection of Dorcas and for her freedom.”

This family is not alone. In the last decade thousands upon thousands of girls and boys have been kidnapped, injured or killed. Abducted children are taught how to handle assault rifles and they are being indoctrinated into violent fundamentalism.

At 21Wilberforce we most often speak about the impact from Boko Haram, rising discrimination against all who fail to meet the standards of Sharia laws imposed on the twelve northern states, increasing violence from Fulani terrorists, and the humanitarian crisis in Nigeria.

But today, ours is a plea for Dorcas, whose story has drawn attention to an entire generation at risk in Nigeria.

With the hope that Dorcas’ story moves you to take action

Take Action:

1. Write a letter of encouragement to Esther Yakube and Yakube Kabu, the parents of Dorcas — email it to info@21Wilberforce or mail it to The Kabu’s c/o 21Wilberforce, 405 North Washington Street, Suite 300, Falls Church, VA 22046

2. Learn about the International Committee of Nigeria (ICON)

3. Read Stolen Girls: Survivors of Boko Haram Tell Their Story

Take Action