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The simple act of educating girls has been under attack for years. And not just in Nigeria.

The kidnapping of nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls last month by Islamist militants has highlighted the troubling reality for young females daring to learn.

And as Western nations pledge to help find Nigeria’s “lost girls,” their plight is raising awareness that in several countries, young girls’ education is in peril, according to a 2014 report from the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack.

“In my travels, I’ve found that many families want to send their daughters to the classroom,” said Lisa Bender, an education specialist at UNICEF. “But they want to feel safe doing that.”

Countries where girls’ education is threatened share similar threads of violence, poverty and cultural oppression. Here are five countries where girls are fighting to overcome that:  (more)

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