Malala Yousafzai is a young woman who needs no introduction. Known by most simply as Malala, she has entered the realm of single-namedom, not by donning provocative clothes like Madonna or by adopting a catchy stage name. She is Malala because there is no confusing her with any other person alive today. Today (July 12) may be her 17th birthday, but the strength, wisdom, and courage that this young woman has is not matched by any man, woman or child out there.
It has been almost two years since Malala was shot three times by the Taliban in Pakistan. And why was one of the world’s most notorious militant groups after a 15 year old? Because they could see the willingness she had to stand up against their rule and fight for her right to an education – an idea that her father had encouraged in her. Malala, a young girl with a voice, scared the Taliban, and they wanted her gone.
Malala survived and has gone on to speak for the rights of girls all around the world, calling on those in power to make education available to both girls and boys. To name just a few of her achievements, she has spoken in front of the UN, been given honourary degrees, has written a book, and is the voice, name and face behind The Malala Fund.
But Malala is not the only one. We cannot forget about the other Malalas around the world. The girls that have no opportunities to gain a basic education and the girls who, unlike Malala, have no father encouraging them to fight for what is a basic right. We need to fight for them, to empower them, and most importantly, to never forget about them.
On July 14, 2014, the UN Global Education First Initiative is celebrating Malala Day – a day to fight for equal education for all. On this day Malala is encouraging you to use the hashtag #StrongerThan to show the strength that we have in fighting as a group for education rights. Let’s help
Malala make this campaign go viral and draw attention to the girls around the world without a basic education. That lack of education is a force of oppression for all those girls. Let’s change the situation and in doing so, change the way the world is run. In the words of Nelson Mandela, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”