Using the hashtag #147notjustanumber and #theyhavenames, friends and families of the victims, journalists and others on Twitter have begun to honour the lives of those who died – sharing the photographs, names, ages and character portraits as the details become available.
Each tweet paints a powerful portrait of loss.
They include tributes to Leah N Wanfula, who at 21 was the first of nine siblings to go to university. There’s Gideon Kirui, 22, whose entire family saved up for him to continue his education; and Selpher Wandia, 21, who was studying to become a teacher.
It was Gideon Kirui’s entire village that contributed money to his education. The link goes to this tweet:
Ory Okolloh Mwangi @kenyanpundit
Jackson Mibei searching for his 22 yr old son Gideon Kirui. Whole village had raised money for him to go to University #147notjustanumber
The other two I posted yesterday.
In an effort to make sure each student is honoured a public google document has been created “to ensure we never forget the names of victims of internal and external acts of mass violence”. It also contains tabs for other al-Shabaab victims, including the ones on Mandera Quarry in 2014 and the Westgate shopping mall in 2013.
Coordinated by a Kenyan blogger known as Owaahh, the document is acting as an open-source database. The public are asked to add any information they have about the Garissa students, including quotes from family members and personal Facebook pages.
Owaahh’s team is also asking for links to source and verify the information collected. It currently lists the details of 71 victims, not all of them are verified.
Kenyans on social media have also started to share details of a vigil “to remember and mourn the Kenyans who lost their lives”, which will be held this evening in Uhuru Park, Nairobi. People have been asked to volunteer at the event and those attending to bring hand written tributes.
Remember and mourn.