After a nearly three-year nightmare, Loveth is now happy to be receiving support from Plan International.
Loveth and other girls affected by the violence of Boko Haram are being supported by the organization, which is running a program dedicated to child protection in emergencies, as well as sexual and gender-based violence.
When Boko Haram attacked her family’s village in northeast Nigeria in 2014, Loveth was only 14 years old. She and her family had no choice but to run for their lives.
Along with other people from their village, they headed for Yola, a large town almost 200km away, hoping to make the long journey on foot.
However, for some of them, the hopes of getting to a safe haven ended quickly as they approached the next village. They were discovered by armed insurgents.
Loveth, her brother, and his friend were forced at gunpoint into a waiting vehicle and taken to a site under the control of Boko Haram. Upon arrival, the hostages were segregated by gender.
“I didn’t know where we were,” said Loveth. “I was separated from my brother and his friend. It was a strange place to me and I was terrified beyond imagination.”
She was desperate to escape, but had no idea of her location.
“I just couldn’t imagine how I would make it to safety even if I managed to break free,” she said.
Three weeks into captivity, Loveth and a few other captive girls found hope in the form of an elderly woman who took pity on their plight. She was a local who was pressed into service by Boko Haram.
Risking her own life, the woman offered to help Loveth and six other girls.
“She knew the area very well and explained the escape route to us,” said Loveth. “The old woman led us into the woods at night and pointed us in the right direction. We just ran breathless into the darkness. The woman stayed behind.”
All seven girls, including Loveth, made a lucky escape.
They walked for miles until they arrived at a campsite for internally displaced people. She was later identified by Plan as someone who could benefit from its programs to support young girls affected by Boko Haram.
The humanitarian projects are supporting the recovery and reintegration of girls and young women affected by armed conflict through educational and livelihood skills acquisition and opportunities as well as child protection, sexual and gender based violence education, and case management for survivors.
Plan is working through a variety of actors in identifying vulnerable girls like Loveth who have been recently demobilized, girls who have self-demobilized and those at risk of (re)joining armed groups.
Loveth is now back in school and hopes to become a midwife. Thanks to Plan, she has hope.
Plan’s programs take an integrated approach to meeting the life-saving needs of girls and young women, while preventing and responding to protection concerns.