For my 16th birthday I recall going bowling with a few friends and we had a fun, carefree evening. When Malala turned 16, she addressed the UN Youth Council about the importance of educating girls. She is the epitome of courageous. The Taliban wanted her dead, “they thought the bullets would silence us. But they were wrong.” It was likely the best decision I had made all week, to tune into Malala’s live speech. It’s an understatement to say it was inspiring. If you missed it, you can watch it on YouTube.
Here are some of my favourite quotes:
“Malala Day is not my day; today is the day of every woman, every boy and every girl who have raised their voice for their rights.”
“The extremists are afraid of books & pens. The power of education frightens them.”
“We cannot succeed when half of us are held back.”
“Let us pick up our books and our pens. They are our most powerful weapons. One child. One teacher. One pen. Can change the world.”
What’s the obsession with education? Is it really a solution? Yes. Approximately 75 million girls are currently out of school. Can you imagine the lost potential? Many girls that are in school struggle to stay there. They face violence on their way to school or are taken out for early marriage, pregnancy, to support the family financially, etc. Research has shown that the longer girls stay in school the better chance they have of getting married at a later age, be healthy, educate their own children, share and reinvest their knowledge with the community and country.
I’m writing this blog in hopes to keep the momentum going. Malala Day brought together people from all around the world. It inspired, invoked, empowered and engaged everyone that listened in. But it’s old news already. (People have moved on to stories about the new royal baby, obviously.) And though it’s not trending on Twitter and Huffington Post isn’t publishing articles about it anymore, girls’ education is still worthy of our attention.
As I always say, doing your part is really simple. You need not to take on the burden of getting those millions of girls back into school. Just one, can change the world. A raised hand is a symbol for education and the empowerment that comes with it. Will you raise your hand? They did.