“You Can Make it Happen”: Celebrating Malala Yousafzai

July 11, 2022
“You Can Make it Happen”: Celebrating Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai is one of the most recognisable faces regarding advocacy for girls’ education and women’s equality. She has used her significant platform to continuously fight for these causes and bring attention to stories that would perhaps otherwise stay in the shadows.

At seventeen, Malala was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and shared the award with Kailash Satyarthi, a children’s rights activist from India. Her accolades don’t end there, as she was also named as a United Nations Messenger of Peace in 2017, to help raise awareness of the importance of girls’ education. Her dedication to female rights and in particular educational opportunities, led her to found the Malala Fund, which works towards a world where every girl can learn and lead.

Clearly, Malala is an incredible advocate, and champion of community, equality, fairness, kindness and compassion. Her commitment to these values are just part of why she is featured in our Young Leaders Award as an Inspirational Leader in our Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 Young Leaders Award resources.

This month, we celebrate Malala’s birthday by recognising and raising awareness of her efforts and achievements.

So what has Malala been up to in the last year?

The Malala Fund, has just celebrated the release of Dare to Learn: The Power of an Educated Girl, a book containing 25 powerful stories of brave young girls fighting oppression and social norms to attend school.

You can read a snippet of Chapter 6 on Assembly, Malala Fund’s publication platform.

In April this year, Malala was part of a conversation hosted by World Bank, discussing how we can invest in people after the hardships of the pandemic. She used this platform to bring attention to how girls have been affected throughout the economic hardships that have been caused by COVID-19.

“When an external crisis hits an economy, girls are usual the first to drop out and the last ones to return to their classrooms … We also know that we need policies and systems that are more inclusive, realistic and also creative, when we are talking about the future of education.”

You can still watch the conversation with Malala, Amina J Mohammed, and Mari Elka Pangestu, here.

Partnering with The Economist, Malala released a guest series of essays from four women, addressing issues deeply connected to girls’ education: conflict, climate, digital inclusion and discrimination. She included Afghan children’s rights advocate Freshta Karim, climate activist Vanessa Nakate, inventor and author Kiara Nirghin and anti-colourism activist TK Saccoh, as the authors for these topics. In doing so, she used her platform to elevate the voice of others and educate the masses on global social justice issues.

These essays are powerful and show just how deeply girls’ education runs through a vast array of global issues.

Read Malala’s introduction to the collection here.

In February, Malala joined Maliha Abidi, creator of Women Rise, in conversation around advancing girls’ education globally.

Maliha is herself a published author and her works shed light on advocacy of social justice including women’s rights, gender equality, girls’ education, and fighting for the marginalized communities. This event is another example of Malala facilitating discussions surrounding girls’ education, with like-minded individuals who share her passion, so to maximise societal impact.

To celebrate Day of the Girl, Malala was a guest on the Today Show, where she spoke about her hopes and fears for the girls and women of Afghanistan. During the interview, she shared her message with other young girls who want to make a difference in their own communities:

“Believe in yourself. Believe in your voice. Believe in the dedication and determination that you hold for the things that you believe in. You can make it happen.”

You can watch the rest of her Day of the Girl interview with Today Show’s Savannah Guthrie here.

Malala is a fantastic role model for women’s rights, girls’education, and treating others fairly no matter their culture, background, oridentity. This year, on her 24th birthday, we celebrate herinspirational commitment, dedication and wisdom.

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