“Why don’t they want girls to go to school?” Malala asked her father.
“They are scared of the pen,” he replied.
Who is Malala?
Malala Yousafazai possesses the curiosity, words and power to change her nation of Pakistan and the world as she continues to stand up for girls education. However, taking a stand on the rights of education for every boy and girl , alerted the Taliban. On Oct 9, 2012 Malala got shot in the head on her way home from school in Swat. The Taliban did not win.
The Taliban instead helped Malala’s campaign for girls education go global. The story behind this act of violence and heroic recovery gained attention of presidents, social activists, religious leaders and celebrities. It also inspired countless individuals to join the movement, including me.
Malala’s pursuit for excellence in school and courage to try public speaking comes after her greatest role model, her father. Ziauddin Yousafazai is a community leader, activist and creator of girls school. Through her father’s connections, Malala got the opportunity to write under a pen name a diary for BBC about life under the Taliban. Her first diary appeared in Jan 3 2009.
Seeing her words in writing was thrilling as she began seeing how powerful one voice can be.
“I began to see that the pen and the words that come from it can be much more powerful than machine guns, tanks or helicopters. We were learning how to struggle. And we were learning how powerful we are when we speak.”
Although the Talibanization occurred in Swat Valley, and encouraged girls to withdraw from school Malala’s parents disagreed. By the start of Jan 2009, the class enrollment was down from 27 girls in school to 10.
She writes, “My parents never once suggested I should withdraw from school, ever. Though we loved school we hadn’t realize how important education was until the Taliban tried to stop us. Going to school, reading and doing our homework wasn’t just a way of passing time, it was our future.”
Malala has a ‘second life.’ Her treatment and recovery she credits this to God , and the excellent nurture and care from her family and medical team including Dr. Fionna and countless prayer and supporters. Malala insists that although her world changed that day she has not. She has been unable to return to her valley in Swat and instead lives and attends school in the UK. She has awards on her shelves from all over the world and is the youngest person every to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Malala is grateful for the awards, but understands they are a reminder there is still much work to be done and quest for knowledge is a struggle.
“I know it’s a big struggle—around the worlds there are 57 million children who are not in primary school, 32 million of them girls. Sadly my own country, Pakistan , is one of the worst places: 5.1 million children don’t even go to primary school…we have almost 50 million illiterate adults; 2/3 of whom are women, like my own mother.”
I have joined the ‘I am Malala’ campaign to demand no child be denied to go to school by 2015. I too have dreams and goals have remained to achieve education for every boy and girl.
Sign the petition, there is power in the pen!
Listen to Malala Yousafzai UN speech in full
donorworx guest blogger, Natalie Parrague