I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
At fifteen years old, Malala Yousafzai was known for speaking up for the rights of girls to get an education in a hostile region that was torn by war, unkept political promises, and contradicting religious lessons. She became known internationally when the Taliban put a bullet in her head. But what the Taliban really did that day was widen Malala’s audience. Because Malala does not want to be remembered as “the “girl who was shot by the Taliban”, but the “girl who fought for education.” This is the cause to which [she] want[s] to devote [her] life.”
Here’s all I really have to say about this book: it was written by a teenage girl, keep that in mind, when you read it. It’s written by a teenage girl who has lived through dictators, unimpressive policy makers, poor leadership, severe earthquakes, massive flooding, extreme sexism, very real violence and fear, intimidation, political upheaval, terrorist attacks, and the seventh grade. Her information, events she lived through, were very much news to me and I was constantly amazed that these things happened also in my lifetime and I’ve heard nary a word about many of them.
Her cause is very real. Both in her country and in many others around the globe. Even in first world countries, like the United States, children fall through the educational cracks. The students who come through the Outdoor School Program where I work are mainly middle schoolers, we are amazed week after week how many students can barely spell, and the ones who don’t have a solid grasp on reading. Our program does not require our students to do much reading or writing at all and most of our students flourish in experiential education, but we know they will be greatly hurt because their reading skills are poor-to-non-existent.
I echo Malala’s call that education be a right granted to all children, not just those who can afford it, and not just to boys. Helene Gayle, CEO of CARE, a US based organization dedicated to fighting poverty and empowering women world wide, is cited saying “If you educate a girl, as the saying goes, you educate a nation.” Because, as global action campaign, Girl Rising’s slogan reminds us “One girl with courage is a revolution.” If we educate our girls, our quality of life will go up; if our quality of life goes up, we will have less poverty, more peace, and a better world.
It is up to all of us to make this happen.
Help us educate our children.