Imagine you’re 15 years old. Now imagine you’re being targeted by the Taliban for daring to speak out about the right for all girls to be educated. Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head when gunmen opened fire on her and her friends’ school bus in Pakistan’s Swat Valley. Today, on the third anniversary of the attack on Malala and her school mates, Shazia Ramzan and Kainat Riaz, the movie “He Named Me Malala” is released nationwide to the public to tell the story of Malala and her role as a leading campaigner for the rights of children worldwide.
Growing up in the United States, it’s hard for me to fathom that educating girls is an issue. How can people think that educating a woman makes her dangerous? It’s medieval thinking that makes me eternally grateful for the education I have received, and that I continue to take part in as part of my own personal growth, and it motivates me to act.
As a Global Goals Champion for the United Nations, the release of “He Named Me Malala” is in sync with Goal 4 of the 17 Goals they announced at the end of September. These goals are the focus over the next 15 years, with the UN hoping to have made significant progress in achieving them by 2030.
The lack of access to quality education, especially among the poorest and among girls, prevents millions of people from escaping the cycle of extreme poverty around the world.
3 Facts to Know:
- 124 million children who could be in elementary, middle, or high school aren’t in school
- More than half of children who have not enrolled in school live in sub-Saharan Africa. An estimated 50% of out-of-school children of primary school age live in conflict-affected areas.
- Children in the poorest households are 4 times as likely to be out of school as children in the richest households.
Malala captured the world’s attention by standing up for what she believes.
She certainly captured mine, and I have been following her story since the day her attack became news. After healing from her injuries, Malala hasn’t taken her survival for granted and is now a leading campaigner for girls’ education globally as co-founder of the Malala Fund. Documentary filmmaker Davis Guggenheim shows us how Malala, her father Zia and her family are committed to fighting for education for all girls worldwide. The film gives us a glimpse into this extraordinary young girl’s life – from her close relationship with her father who inspired her love for education, to her impassioned speeches at the UN, to her everyday life with her parents and brothers.
“It’s a combination of Ziauddin and Toor Pekai that has created this incredible girl,” the director says. “Ziauddin obviously has a close relationship with Malala. He has that wonderful quote: ‘Don’t ask me what I did. Ask me what I didn’t do. I didn’t clip her wings.’ And there’s that special moment when she’s born and he says to her, you’re equal to all the men that are on the family tree. But I also believe Toor Pekai is where Malala gets her moral strength and her faith.”
I cannot imagine how this young woman feels, or where she finds the energy to do all she does, but I can learn from her. Malala reminds us that we can all be change agents, we just have to listen to our courage and be motivated to act. Wisdom knows no age. During a recent call with Malala, the Nobel Peace Prize winner reminded me of something I have always found to be true: There are no limits to what kids can do.
Join me this weekend when I continue with part two of my “He Named Me Malala” series.
Watch the trailer for “He Named Me Malala”
Follow the journey of Malala and of “He Named Me Malala”
Twitter: @malalafund @foxsearchlight
Hashtags: #HeNamedMeMalala #withMalala
Malala Fund URL: Malala.org
Film URL: HeNamedMeMalala.com
Disclosure: This was not a sponsored post.