Today is the sad one-year anniversary since the abduction of over 200 school girls in Chibok, Borno state.
While the majority of the victims are still missing, some of them managed to escape from Boko Haram captors who claimed responsibility for the act.
Al Jazeera spoke with three girls that jumped off the moving trucks transporting them to the unknown location.
The escapees, who spoke under the condition of anonymity for security reasons, are currently studying at the American University of Nigeria in Yola.
Responding to the correspondent’s questions, the girls said they did not want to be portrayed as victims, despite what had happened to them.
Instead, they decided to focus on their education.
Below are excerpts from the interview conducted with one of the girls:
Do you want to go back to Chibok?
Blessing: Yes. I want some changes in Chibok, like the environment. I want to be a lawyer. I want to fight for justice. Wait, I want to say something to my school friends who are still being held captive by Boko Haram!
Of course … go ahead.
Blessing: I will just pray for them that one day there is hope, that one day God will set them free from the hands of Boko Haram.
Mary: Ask me what you asked Blessing … about if I want to go back to Chibok, because I do.
Why do you want to go back?
Mary: Because my favourite subjects are physics and biology. The reason is I want to become a medical doctor. To go to Chibok and build clinics and hospitals because we don’t have educated doctors there. I will try hard. But it’s hard. This new school is nice. We don’t have many textbooks in Chibok like here. We don’t use laptops in Chibok. We don’t do some sports like we are doing here.
Deborah: I want to say something important before I answer your questions. It’s for the girls still missing.
Please, go ahead.
Deborah: The message is be brave and courageous. Be a hard worker and always believe in God, that whatever you are going through, God is there for you, he will help you. Have ambition that you are great and you were made to be a great person.
Someone tried to take education away from you. How do you feel about that?
Deborah: It was said that if you educate a girl you educate the whole nation. It is very important. They haven’t stopped me.
What is schooling like in Chibok?
Deborah: Not good. That’s why I am going back when I graduate. The education there is very poor. So I want to help by building a school. I want to empower women by creating centres that will teach them things.
So you want to be a teacher?
Deborah: My favourite subjects are English and biology. I want to be a doctor. I want to save lives of people and help those who are sick but can’t pay their medical bills.
Do you think you will be able to finish school in peace now?
Deborah: I like this place because of the good quality education we are getting here. We are sponsored to study here. Everything is paid for. It is an exciting, beautiful environment. There is airconditioning in the rooms, flushing toilets and, I have my own bed. I am happy to be here.Meanwhile another breaking report has recently emerged that over 50 of the abducted girls were seen alive three weeks ago in Gwoza, before the insurgents were driven out of the town by the troops.