Fenn Students Hear Malala Yousafzai
by Maahin Gulati, Fenn Student
Malala Yousafzai is known for her education and women’s rights activism in the Swat Valley of pakistan, where the Taliban had at times banned girls from attending school. She recently published
a biography of her short life: I am Malala: The Girl who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban. In early 2009, at the age of 11, Malala wrote a blog under a pseudonym for the BBC World Service detailing her life under Taliban rule, their attempts to take control of the valley, and her views on promoting education for girls. Soon after that the Taliban started a campaign where they blew up any school they knew of that girls were attending. A total of 400 schools were destroyed. The following summer, a New York Times documentary was filmed about her life.
On October 9th 2012, Yousafzai was shot in the head and neck in an assassination attempt by Taliban gunmen while she was returning home on a school bus. The attack sparked global support for worldwide access to education opportunities for girls including the creation of Malala Day, July 12. Malala has since received numerous awards and honors for her work, including the 2013 Sakharov prize for Freedom of Thought from the European parliament, the 2013 Clinton Global Citizen Award, and a 2013 Nobel peace prize nomination.
On Saturday October 12th students from the Fenn School in Concord attended a conversation with Malala herself at Boston College High School. Here are a few highlights from her question and answer time:
• Her favorite show is “Ugly Betty.”
• She recently told president Obama to “send books and pencils to pakistan rather than guns and weapons.”
• While pakistan is her home, the Swat Valley is where she lives, and it is “her paradise.” Malala “grew up in school,” and she loved school because she was learning, not just about math and science but about basic equality in life.
• According to Malala, she also learned how to be kind to every one. To Malala education is important because we are not only building our own future, but also the future of pakistan. “It is important to struggle, to raise your voice, and freedom will come, for God made me as high as the sky.”
• “When I was shot I did not know that the world was praying for me.”
• She concluded her remarks with a defiant statement: “I am certainly not afraid of the Taliban nor am I afraid of death, and wherever I go I want to make a change for girls around the world.”