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An advocate of girls’ education

Updated on February 27, 2016

Malala Yousafzai

Education is one of the basic rights of human beings. Since childhood, we have been learning that education is the backbone of a nation. No nation can prosper without education. It is the most powerful weapon that we can use to change the world. Napoleon Bonaparte said, “Give me an educated mother, I shall promise you the birth of a civilized, educated nation.” There is an African proverb, “If you educate a man you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman, you educate a nation.” Some people in our society do not like to see that girls are going to school to be educated because an educated girl will not act with them like a puppet.

In 2009, Taliban announced to restrict girls education in the Swat valley in Pakistan where 9.4 million children is out of school as per report of UNESCO. Taliban said, “Islam does not allow girls to be educated.” But Islam says,

Education is must for every Muslim, men and women.” [Narrated by Ibn Maja in al-Sunan]

Malala Yousafzai

Taliban is an Islamic fundamentalist political movement in Afghanistan. It was formed during the war against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989. They came to power during Afghanistan’s long civil war and ruled there from 1996 to 2001. But during the US operation in Afghanistan, they fled to Pakistan. In Pakistan they regrouped and created several shuras to coordinate their revolution in Afghanistan.

Taliban

Taliban told Ziauddin Yousafzai, father of Malala, to close his school. Malala loved to go to school. She began writing a blog for the BBC Urdu service under a pseudonym because she wanted to create awareness among the people about the importance of girls’ education through blogging. She received death threats from Taliban but continued to speak out for the right of education. The New York Times made a documentary on Malala’s contribution to create awareness on girls’ education. Due to Malala’s activities, Taliban became furious on her. They attempted to kill her. But she survived.

Mingora city is situated in 100 km North-West from Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan in Swat Valley. On 9th October 2012, as Malala and her classmates were travelling home from school, two Taliban gun men wearing mask stopped their school bus. One of them entered the bus and asked for Malala by name. When he saw Malala, he started to shot from the gun. Malala and her two friends were injured in the attack. A single bullet went through her head, neck and shoulder. Seriously injured Malala was moved to Rawalpindi from Combined Military Hospital (CMH), Peshawar for better treatment. Later she was moved to Birmingham in the United Kingdom for specialized treatment on 15th October 2012.

Malala received the Nobel Peace Prize on 10th December 2014 with Indian children’s rights and education advocate Kailash Satyarthi. She contributed her $1.1 million prize money for girls’ secondary school education in Pakistan. If anyone wants to know more about Malala, I suggest reading the book ‘I Am Malala’ written by Malala Yousafzai.

Malala with Nobel Peace Prize

Without education, it is not possible to be successful in life. And without girls’ education, it is not possible to be a successful nation because good mothers give birth to good children and good children eventually make good citizens, or broadly speaking a good nation.

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