July 14, 2014 will be a very special day! It is the day in which we will celebrate Malala Day started by a young woman named Malala Yousafzai. It is also her 17th birthday.
As a young teenage girl shook the world with her story of triumph and perseverance after being attacked for pursuing her education. This is the day we have an opportunity to become part of a world wide movement and speak out for the millions of children that are denied education because of gender, socioeconomic, religious, political, or other needless reasons.
Malala was born (12 July 1997) in Mingora, the Swat District of north west Pakistan. She was named Malala, after Malalai, the famous Pashtun Heroine.
In 2012 Malala, 14, was on her way to school when a masked gunman came onto the bus, called her by name and shot her in the head as well as injuring several of her friends.
The question is why would a young girl be a target to a gunman?
Malala was born in a part of the world where girls were banned from getting an education. In northwest Pakistan where Malala’s father, a poet and an education advocate himself, the Taliban began to take a tighter hold and began to invoke lifestyle bans from television to women’s education. Malala at the time was blogging anonymously for the BBC. Soon Malala and her father began to receive death threats that caused them to fear for their lives. Later, Malala was featured in a documentary for the New York times and started to receive awards such as the Pakistan national Youth Peace Prize which also heightened the Taliban’s awareness of who she was. She was then revealed as the author of the BBC blogs. At this time the Taliban leaders met and voted to kill her.
On October 9, 2012 the taliban attempted to assassinate Malala shooting her in the head. She miraculously survived and was moved to the United Kingdom for more specialized treatment. She was released in January of 2013. This attempt on Malala’s life ignited protests in Pakistan inciting 2 million people to sign the right to education bill in Pakistan. The first of it’s kind in Pakistan.
While the Taliban took public responsibility of their gross act saying that she was a symbol of the infidels and obscenity, other Islamic leaders issued a fatwa against Taliban leaders countering that “there is no religious reason for shooting a schoolgirl”.
Malala’s courage to keep moving forward with her mission shined the light on the struggle of many children around the world. Girls especially are denied the right to education because of social, economic, and political, and legal factors.
“Malala started the Malala Day to bring awareness to the social and economic impact of girls’ education and to empower girls to raise their voices, to unlock their potential, and to demand change. -malalafund.org
“Malala Day is not my day. It is the day of every girl and every boy. It is a day when we come together to raise our voices, so that those without a voice can be heard.
“On my birthday last year, I stood before the United Nations and spoke up for girls’ rights. You stood with me, with letters, messages and photos of support. Thank you.
This year, we need to raise our voices even louder. I’m asking you to stand with me again on Malala Day to say: We are stronger than the enemies of education. We are stronger than fear, hatred, violence and poverty.
They thought that bullets would silence us, but they failed. Instead, out of that silence came thousands of voices. My birthday wish this year is that we all raise our voices for those under oppression, to show our own power and that courage is stronger than their campaign of fear.
The road to equality is long, but we will succeed if we walk it together. Please join me in raising your voice this Malala Day.”
I am so inspired by this young woman’s story of courage in the face of absolute hate and bigotry. Malala has chosen to fight back with standing on a firm foundation of her belief to see children that are free to receive an education. In a way it is amazing and rather divine that the war on terror would be led not by armed forces but by a young girl.
Malala’s life seems to be on a divine path. God had His hand on her in allowing her to survive an impossible situation. She embodies many of the qualities of those “heroes” of our past. When she was given her “assignment” she was around the same age as another young girl named Mary who was given the task of carrying our Savior at around the same age.
Malala has a dream. A big dream that is transcendent of the wars and politics of grown-ups and seeks peace to preserve the children of the world. Fighting with peace for peace. Her approach is reminiscent of Gandhi in her ability to see through negativity and peacefully focus on what is important…the children. They are afterall our future.
I’m not comparing Malala to these archetypes because of who she is but because of the choice she has made to embrace what has happened and obtain a powerful perspective and mission because of it. That is why I’m excited to share how you can be part of her mission by going to malalafund.org and join others in helping to fund edcuation for over 600 million girls around the world that could with education grow to be a positive force in changing the world!
“…fear and hopelessness died, strength power and courage was born.”
What are you #strongerthan?