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NEWS & IDEAS

MAKERS Stands With Malala

Malala Yousafzai was 15 when she was shot by the Taliban. She was on her way to school when a gunman stepped onto the bus and asked for her by name. A year later, on her 16th birthday, Malala spoke at the UN Youth Assembly in New York City, her first public speech since the shooting. The UN had declared that day to be Malala Day. “Malala Day is not my day,” she told the UN General Assembly. “Today is the day of every woman, every boy, and every girl who has raised their voice for their rights.”

Today, Malala continues to raise her voice for people who live under oppression and in fear. This weekend, she flew to Nigeria to meet with some of the abducted schoolgirls who escaped extremist Muslim group Boko Haram as well as the families of those still in captivity. 200 girls are still missing. “My birthday wish this year is… bring back our girls now, and alive,” Malala said. She also met with Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan to push for more action against Boko Haram. The schoolgirls were kidnapped on April 15, and the Nigerian government has been widely criticized for its minimal rescue efforts. "We cannot sit on the sidelines and let this continue. Each of us is responsible," Malala wrote in the Washington Post

The Boko Haram kidnapping is part of a larger attack on girl’s education. As Malala continued in her piece:

“I think of the girls from Syria who not so long ago knew what it felt like to be in a classroom and now live in refugee camps while the world stands by as they become a lost generation. I think of girls who are caught in the crossfire of conflict between Gaza and Israel, heads down as they hear the terrifying sound of the air-raid siren instead of heads down in a book, as they should be.”

Malala continues her campaign for international access to education. Today, she asks people to share their stories of hope and courage with the hashtag #StrongerThan. To help Malala’s fight for worldwide education, you can sign her petition or support her birthday wish through donation.

Join the conversation with MAKERS to say we are stronger than the enemies of education, stronger than hatred and fear.

Photo credit: Megan Smith