As I was reading this extraordinary book I couldn’t help myself to be back in July of 2003 while I was taking some English class over the summer so I could earn my High School Diploma. Back then Malala was only 6 years old already witnessing her father’s fight for the right of education to girls and woman. I didn’t realize back in 2003 how much education was important. If I did I wouldn’t be doing summer school to earn the credits needed for my diploma. Little that I know that across the world were people fighting to earn only the right to be educated, the right to have a chance. I had a chance, I had great teacher, counselors and advisers who were willing to help me succeed. I had a chance to make the best out of my High School years. I had the opportunity that fifty seven million children in the world today don’t have. Even though I passed all the test and finally got my High School Diploma, this book made me realize once more, and perhaps the deepest way possible how much I took my education for granted. But, not only education, sometimes we take for granted things like, our freedom to speech, our freedom of religion, our freedom to work hard and become successful If we try. Stories like this, inspire me to be better, to do better, to see things better, to act on things better, to look around and see that whatever we have today, there are someone around this big world who are craving for one opportunity, one chance, but they can’t yet have.
Malala explains with very much details how her life was prior to the shooting. The struggle her father went through to keep his dream alive. The courage they had to keep their school open even when the Taliban ordered all the women schools to be close on the 15 of January of 2009.
“Who is Malala?” that’s the chapter where she describe her shooting. Literally when I got to that chapter on page 236, I had to take a break, go outside breathe a fresh air to gain strength to read the tragedy that was about to happen. It really felt like I was inside that white Toyota TownAce truck riding with those girls. Maybe the most touching chapter in the book for me.
She tells us that she is short girl only 5 feet tall, so she pray to grow a tiny bit taller. At that time she was speaking at a lot of events and it wasn’t easy to be authoritative and could hardly see over the lecter. Her prayers were answered. A huge price were paid. Today not only she is one of the biggest leaders who fight for peace, freedom and education, but also a treat to the Taliban. She was only local activist, now she is global. She was the youngest to ever be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, but sadly she didn’t win. She also delivered a remarkable speech on the day of her sixteenth birthday at the United Nations. And also twice on the cover of TIME magazine, an Icon that eventually made her the Most Influential Person Of The Year.
Her sense of purpose to fight for education for every girl was much bigger than her own life. And I think great leaders feel this strong sense of purpose. They are so convicted by it, that they are willing to give up their own life for the greater cause.
One of the phrases that caught my attention the most, and made be anxious to read her book was in a interview she did in The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Comedy Central.
“I started thinking about that, and I used to think that the Talib would come, and he would just kill me. But then I said, ‘If he comes, what would you do Malala?’ then I would reply to myself, ‘Malala, just take a shoe and hit him.’
But then I said, ‘If you hit a Talib with your shoe, then there would be no difference between you and the Talib. You must not treat others with cruelty and that much harshly, you must fight others but through peace and through dialogue and through education.’
Then I said I will tell him how important education is and that ‘I even want education for your children as well.’ And I will tell him, ‘That’s what I want to tell you, now do what you want.”
This phrase is included in the prologue, but not with such detail.
Her father used to say “Malala will be free as a bird”. Indeed she now is, but I think what really describe who she is today is this. “I know God stopped me from going to the grave. It feels like this life is a second life. People prayed to God to spare me, and I was spared for a reason — to use my life for helping people. When people talk about the way I was shot and what happened, I think it’s the story of Malala, “a girl shot by the Taliban”; I don’t feel it’s a story about me at all”.
Malala’s weapon to fight this war is simply this: “One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world. Education is the only solution. Education first”.
The Malala Foundation:
There are 600 million adolescent girls in the developing world. They are an undeniable force for social and economic impact. But only if given the opportunity.
Around the world, girls are denied a formal education because of social, economic, legal and political factors. And in being denied an education, society loses one of its greatest and most powerful resources.
The Malala Fund aims to change that.
Education empowers girls to raise their voices, to unlock their potential, and to demand change.
The Malala Fund’s solutions are grounded in inspired innovation: they are girl-centric approaches to education that support the Fund’s goal of creating a world where every girl reaches her true potential.
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