Nearly three years ago on the night of April 14, 2014, 276 school-aged girls were kidnapped from a boarding school in the town of Chibok in Borno State, Nigeria. Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the kidnapping as a bargaining tool for the release of several jailed militants. Since the initial capture, 21 girls have escaped. Although this is certainly good news, it's only the first of many steps toward rebuilding the lives of the young women who have seen and experienced unimaginable trauma. How do they begin to pick up the pieces of their lives? What practical steps must be taken to ease their difficult transition? Billionaire Robert Smith is invested in providing practical resolutions to these questions.
The Austin, Texas-based founder of enterprise software investment firm, Vista Equity Partners, has committed to paying for tuition, housing, meal plans and other related expenses for the 21 adoptees of the Nigerian government to attend the prestigious American University of Nigeria in Yola, as well as 3 other women in the Chibok community. According to the News Agency of Nigeria, Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant on the Media to Nigeria’s President, announced that the American magnate offered to take responsibility for these girls and all others who will hopefully eventually be set free.
Smith, who currently ranks as the 268th richest person in America, is no stranger to philanthropy. As founder of Project Realize, his mission is to combine the best elements of the American free enterprise system with the core American ideals of giving back and lifting others up. The impact of this most recent investment will be felt in the lives of these young women and their communities for many generations to come.
Never miss a headline! Sign up for Blavity's daily newsletter.