Stand with Malala Yousafzai: the Young Girl Fighting for Education

August 12, 2016

Yes, I have spoken about Malala Yousafzai in my article on women who are changing the world. But, seeing as she is the youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize winner, I feel that she deserves a whole article to herself!

THE MAN BEHIND MALALA

Malala’s story begins with her father, Ziadduin Yousafzai, who was an educator in Pakistan. Ziadduin explained in his TED Talk, that as a child growing up, he felt it was unfair that he was able to go school, whilst his sisters grew up not being able to even write their own name?

Although it is hard to comprehend in the Western world, in many countries, due to poverty, security or cultural factors, male children will be educated while their female siblings will not. Statistics from UNESCO, suggest that as many 31 million primary-aged girls are not attending school around the world.

Motivated by his passion for education, Ziadduin spent many years campaigning for the right of every child to go to school, even during the oppressive Taliban regime.

Ziauddin Yousafza - Malala Yousafzai's father

Image via BBC.com

MALALA YOUSAFZAI: THE EARLY YEARS

With a father like Ziadduin, it is not surprising that Malala Yousafzai developed a love of learning at such a young age. During the Taliban’s occupation of Swat, Pakistan, Malala became devastated at the thought of not going to school and her father encouraged her to stand up for what she believed in. Malala gained publicity for defending her right to go to school and wrote a popular BBC blog on her experiences during the war.

At the age of 12, Malala Yousafzai was shot by the Taliban in a near-fatal shooting; a direct attack aimed at her and her beliefs. The shooting didn’t silence Malala as intended, instead, it gave her a bigger platform to speak up for the rights of young girls being denied an education.

THE MALALA FUND

And so began the Malala Fund. With the help of Vital Voices, Malala Yousafzai, and her father launched this fund with the aim to amplify girls’ voices, invest in their education and advocate the right to education. Their goal is for every girl in the world to be in “safe, quality education until at least the age of 12 so they can reach their potential”.

Since its launch, the Malala Fund has formed a community of friends, funders, and supporters to the cause. The supporters of this fund include some pretty big names, Angelina Jolie being one of them.

Malala Yousafzai and father

Source: Mishal Husain via BBC.com

THE MALALA FUND IN ACTION

Here is an example of how the Malala Fund is helping girls in Nigeria:

  • Nigeria has the largest number of girls not in school
  • Nigerian girls face extreme dangers in their pursuit of an education; the 2014 Boko Haram kidnappings being a notorious example
  • The fund has given Boko Haram escapees full scholarships to complete secondary school as well as providing them with counselling services
  • The fund provides finances to learning clubs held in safe spaces supplied by the local community. These “safe spaces” are led by a local mentor where groups of girls are taught reading, writing, math, life and livelihood skills.
  • This project is succeeding as it is reducing the social and economic barriers to girls’ education, helping to delay marriage, and expanding the critical years in which girls can acquire skills that will serve them as adults.

This is just one example of the positive impact of The Malala Fund’s work. You can follow updates or find out ways to help the project by going directly to the site.

Also, if you have time, I highly recommend you read “I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban” which you can buy here. If you don’t have time, then make time as it’s such an insightful read!

If you’re feeling inspired by Malala Yousafzai and her work then make others aware! Share this article on any of your social media outlets right away!

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